Monday, 17 March 2014

WW1 NZ Armed Servicemen - Gilbert Slattery & George Bartley

The Bartley Archive holds a number of objects belonging to family members who served in the armed forces. These objects help us to more readily identify with the young men who served in the Great War.

Every person entering the armed services received identification tags so that in the event of death or injury they could be identified and the authorities advised. These tags, belonging to Gilbert Slattery are typical of the period.

Identification Tags belonging to Gilbert Slattery
Gil enlisted in August 1914 at the age of twenty. He was a gas fitter by trade, employed by Brodie's of Northcote where he lived. Before leaving New Zealand he was part D Company, 4th Reinforcements. From November 1914 to 22 March 1915 he was with the Samoan Detachment. Three weeks later he left New Zealand once more as part of the 3rd Auckland Regiment, later joining the Otago Infantry.

Gil remained overseas throughout the war years. He served at Gallipoli before being transferred to the Western Front in 1916, where he remained until the end of hostilities in 1918.
At the close of the war he was embarked for England. After a month recovering in military hospital there he was recruited into the NZPC, the Police Corps, with whom he continued to serve until embarking for home in January 1920.

Accoutrements box belonging to Gilbert Slattery. Soldiers commonly referred to these boxes by the traditional name of ditty box as they also contained their personal bits and pieces such a mending kit and memorabilia.

George Bartley at Enlistment 1918

George was a Pharmacy apprentice in 1917 when he enlisted, but he was required to remain in civvies until he passed his final examination to qualify as a pharmacist. He spent his 21st birthday with trainees for the Medical Corps at the NZ Army training base near the Awapuni Race Course.

 They embarked from Dunedin on the Hospital Ship Marama on the first of June 1918 on their journey to Europe. The ship collected patients at Durbin in South Africa from whom the new recruits heard their first uncensored reports of the military activities.

The Hospital Ship Marama
On arrival in Marsailles, France George was part of a draft detailed for the Western Front. By now, however, it was August 1918 and they were despatched instead to a hospital in Warminster. At the end of hostilities he was posted to "Sling Camp"- the base on the Salisbury plains from which NZ troops were processed for return home.

The First Aid Kit issued to George Bartley 1917

the intact contents of the first aid kit

Below are a selection of papers from the Attestation and Service Record of George Bartley. These documents are typical of those for servicemen  in this period.