George Noble Bartley was born in Gorton, south of Manchester, Lancashire, England, in 1877, the son and one of seven children of John and Mary Bartley (née Gebson). His father was a silk twister, and his mother a silk weaver. The family home was at 9. Ward Street, Gorton, near Manchester, Lancashire.
In 1907, he married Ellen Beard in Prestwich, Lancashire, and they had a son George Arthur, known as Arthur, born in 1910.
In February 1911, George travelled to Canada in search of work and settled in Welland, Ontario. In June of the same year, Ellen and their son, Arthur, joined him.
In early 1915, their second son, John Gordon, was born.
In the spring of 1915, however, George Bartley decided to return to England with his family, having sold his home and some land that he owned, and consequently booked third class passage for them all on the May sailing of the
Lusitania from New York to Liverpool. Leaving Welland in April, with all their possessions and $900 from the sale of their home, they arrived at the Cunard berth at Pier 54 in New York on the morning of 1st May 1915, in time to catch the liner’s scheduled 10.00 a.m. sailing.
Her departure was then actually delayed until the early afternoon, to give her time to take on board passengers, cargo and crew from the Anchor Liner
Cameronia, which had been taken up by the British Admiralty for war work as a troop ship at the end of April. Then, on the afternoon of 7th May, the
Lusitania was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-20, twelve miles off the coast of southern Ireland and only 250 miles from her home port.
The whole of the Bartley family perished as a result of this action and not one of their bodies was ever recovered from the sea later and identified. George Bartley was aged 38 years.
Although the family have no final resting place but the sea, their names are remembered on the gravestone of the Bartley family in Philips Park Cemetery, Manchester.
In June 1926, George Bartley’s widowed mother was awarded $2,000.00 by the Canadian Claims Commission as compensation for the loss of her son, who she claimed she was somewhat dependent upon, and a further $1,450.00 in compensation for the loss of the family’s possessions and the $900.00 in cash George Bartley was supposed to have had with him when he embarked on the final voyage of the Lusitania.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1881 Census of England & Wales, 1891 Census of England & Wales, 1901 Census of England & Wales, U.S. Atlantic Ports Passenger Lists 1893 – 1959, Canadian Passenger Lists 1865 – 1935, Cunard Records, Deaths at Sea 1871 – 1968, PRO BT 100/345, UniLiv D92/2/228, Canadian Claims Case No. 805, Graham Maddocks, Geoff Whitfield, Michael Poirier, Jim Kalafus, Cliff Barry, Paul Latimer, Norman Gray.
Copyright © Peter Kelly