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Arthur Harold Hartley

Date of birth: 1891
Date of death: 28.8.1917
Area: Outwood
Regiment: King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Family information: Son of Joseph and Sarah Hartley
Rank: Sergeant
Service number: 3/827

War Service

Arthur Harold Hartley did not join his Territorial Force colleagues when they went to France in 1915, but remained in the United Kingdom, training the volunteers of Kitchener’s New Army. On 14th March 1916 Sergeant Arthur Harold Hartley was posted to the 6th Battalion, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, which was based in the Ypres area.
The 6th (Service) Battalion was formed at Pontefract on the 12th August 1914 and attached to 43rd Brigade, 14th (Light) Division. Initially without equipment or arms, they completed their training and, on 21st May 1915, went to France.
In June 1915 the 6th KOYLI went into the line at the Menin Road, near Hooge. During the weeks that followed the battalion suffered casualties from enemy shelling, particularly around Zouave Wood and Sanctuary Wood. The battalion was not involved in the Battle of Loos in September 1915, or in any other major attacks, however they were participants in minor attacks and were constantly under shellfire when in the trenches.
The 6th KOYLI remained within the Ypres Salient, with the 14th Division, throughout the winter months. It was here, shortly before the 14th Division moved south, that Acting Sergeant Arthur Harold Hartley joined the battalion. On the 18th June 1916 the battalion went into the trenches at Agny, south of Arras. On the 23rd July these trenches were heavily shelled throughout the day, resulting in the front trenches being evacuated. The enemy followed this bombardment with an infantry attack which advanced as far as the support line, before being repulsed. When relieved on the 28th July, the 6th KOYLI had spent forty days in the trenches.
On 15th August, after a few days training at Albert, the 6th KOYLI took over trenches in Delville Wood near the village of Longueval. On the 24th August the 14th Division began their attack to clear the enemy from the wood, at this time the 6th KOYLI was in support. The battalion went into the front line trenches the following day and later established post, in advance of the line. During the morning of 28th August the 10th Durham Light Infantry, accompanied by two platoons from “X” Company, 6th KOYLI, attacked again. During this attack the 6th Battalion sustained 21 casualties, including 6 killed or missing. At 16.45 hours “Y” Company headquarters was buried by shellfire and later the two front companies had their rations buried, before relief came at midnight.
Sergeant Arthur Harold Hartley was killed in action on 28th August 1916. His body was never identified and his name is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the missing of the Somme battlefield. The Memorial bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died on the Somme sector before 20th March 1918 and who have no known grave. Over 90% of those commemorated died between 1st July and 18th November 1916.

Family Life

Arthur Harold Hartley was born in 1891, the son of Joseph Hartley and Sarah, formerly Burton, of Outwood. Sarah was the second wife of Joseph Hartley, who was employed as a brick maker. In 1893 his mother died after giving birth to a daughter, later to be named Annie. Arthur Harold continued to live with his father at Ledger Lane, Outwood, along with his married sister Charlotte, her husband and family. On leaving school Arthur Harold Hartley obtained work as a labourer at a local colliery. He was also a prominent member of the Outwood Wesleyan Church and Sunday School, before moving to Dewsbury with his father. When living at Vulcan Terrace, Dewsbury Arthur Harold was employed by the Singer Sewing Machine Company Limited. He was also a member of the Territorial Force, which was at training camp prior to mobilization in August 1914.

Thiepval Memorial with rows of graves on either side leading up to it Thiepval Memorial

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