Contributed by: Markus Caruana, on 2008-11-04
|Year of Birth||1897|
|Year of Death||1915|
|Regiment||King's Royal Rifle Corps|
|Place of Wartime Residence||Smethwick, West Midlands|
My Great Uncle Frank Hartley was born on 3rd April 1897, and was the third son of Hiram and Rose (nee Shepherd) Hartley (my Great Grandfather and mother). Frank had four brothers Harry, Frederick, Sam and Joe. He also has two sisters Rose (my Grandmother) and Ruth. Frank's father Hiram died when he was only young and his mother remarried and became Rose Poyner.
To you our grateful respect is given
Frank Hartley enlisted in the British army on 24th June 1913 when he was 16-years-old, he lied about his age (as did many others) so he would be accepted into 'C' Company the '2nd Battalion Kings Royal Rifle Corps' (KRRC). Before enlisting Frank had been educated at City Road Council School and after leaving school he worked as a metal worker.
When the Great War started, Frank was shipped out to France with his regiment on 12th August 1914, as part of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF). Frank at the time was only just turned 17.
The 2nd Bn KRRC were part of the IV Corps, 1st division, 2nd infantry brigade under the command of Sir Henry Rawlinson.
Frank saw action in 1914 and the early part of 1915 in the following battles:
ÃÂ· The Battle of Mons
ÃÂ· The battle of the Marne
ÃÂ· The battle of the Aisne
ÃÂ· Actions on the Aisne Heights
ÃÂ· Action of Chivy
ÃÂ· First battle of Ypres
ÃÂ· Winter operations 1914-15
ÃÂ· The battle of Aubers
It was during the battle of Aubers that Frank Hartley was injured and he was sent home to Avery Road Smethwick to recover from his injuries, which according to my mother were quite serious. He was also suffering from shell-shock. However, because the French Commander-in-Chief Joffre odered a big push for June 1915, Frank was ordered back to France, even though his injuries hadn't healed completely. The British request for the offensive to be postponed until 1916 was rejected by Joffre. However Joffre did delay it until the end of August, beginning of September 1915.
At 0630hrs on 25th September 1915 Franks regiment were ordered to move forward towards the German position. And sometime between then and 1700hrs in the evening Frank Hartley who had just turned 18-years-old was killed, along with around 460 of the comrades from his regiment.