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Rowland Hartley

Date of birth: 1891
Date of death: 9.11.1917
Area: Outwood
Regiment: South Staffordshire
Family information: Eldest son of Richard and Annie Hartley of Outwood
Rank: Second Lieutenant

War Service

In November 1914, when studying for the ministry at Handsworth Wesleyan College, Birmingham, Arthur Rowland Hartley enlisted in the Royal Army Medical Corps. After twelve months training, he was posted overseas and arrived in Egypt on 10th November 1915. He returned to England in October 1916, when he was posted to the Newmarket Cadet School. He was commissioned on the 1st March 1917 and was posted to the South Staffordshire Regiment. 2nd Lieutenant Hartley went to France on 15th April 1917, to join the 5th Battalion, also known as the 1/5th Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment, part of 137th Brigade, 46th Division. However, on 4th May 1917, he joined the 1/6th Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment, on detached duty.
On 23rd June 1917, the 1/6th South Staffs. occupied support billets at Lieven, prior to the assault on the enemy held “Ahead” and “Admiral” trenches. At 19.30 hrs on 24th June “A” and “D” Companies of the 1/6th South Staffs. moved to their assembly positions on the slag heap, in readiness for the attack. Shortly before zero hour, they advanced to within 200 yards of their objective. At 21.30 hrs, zero hour, the two Companies advanced to the fringes of their barrage, “A” Company on the left and “D” Company on the right. No opposition was encountered during the advance towards the main trenches. However, the barrage was not fast enough for the advance, thus the advance had to be slowed. The objectives were gained by 21.55 hrs. when it was found that both trenches had almost been destroyed by the earlier bombardment. “C” Company, who had followed behind the assault line, assisted in consolidation of the captured trenches. The next day, the 1/6th South Staffs. pushed outpost groups forward onto Hill 65, where they came under enemy shell-fire for a time. The battalion was relieved during the night, the relief being completed by 04.30 hrs on 27th June 1917.
On the 24th June, 2nd/Lt. Hartley received serious wounds to the spine, when leading his men into action. He was repatriated back to England and admitted to the Empire Military Hospital in Westminster, London. However, complications developed to his injuries and on 9th November 1917, he died from his wounds. His parents and sister had travelled from their home at Rydal Mount, Outwood and, together with his fiancée, were present at his death. The body of Arthur Rowland Hartley, known as Rowland, was returned to his home village and was buried in Outwood Cemetery. His name is also remembered on the war memorial at Parkside Methodist Church.

Family Life

Arthur Rowland Hartley, born in 1891, was the eldest son of Richard and Annie Hartley of Outwood. His father, Richard Hartley, was a colliery clerk and cashier. For a time the family lived at Grange Villas, Ledger Lane, Outwood, before moving to Albert Terrace, Outwood. Arthur Rowland was educated at Outwood Council School and the Wakefield Grammar School, where he was a prominent member of the cricket and football teams.
On completing his education, he was employed as a clerk in the Education Department at County Hall, Wakefield. Arthur Rowland Hartley was a member of the Outwood Boy Scout Movement, eventually becoming first scoutmaster. He was also a leader in the Wesley Guild Movement, local preacher and Sunday School worker and member of the Wesleyan Cricket Club.

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