John Gordon Bartley, always known as Gordon, was born in February 1915, the second son of George Noble and Ellen Bartley (née Beard), almost certainly in Welland, Ontario, Canada, where his parents lived at the time, although they had both been born in England. Gordon Bartley had an older brother named Arthur born in 1910, who had been born in England.
In the spring of 1915, the family decided to return to England, maybe because of the war and as a result, left Welland some time in April and on the morning of 1st May 1915, boarded the liner
Lusitania at her berth at Pier 54 in New York in time for her morning sailing for Liverpool on the first part of their journey.
Her departure was scheduled for 10.00 a.m., however, but this was delayed until just after noon, as she had to embark the passengers, some of the crew and the cargo from the Anchor Lines steamer the
Cameronia, which the British Admiralty had requisitioned for use as a troop ship at the end of April.
Six days out of New York, disaster struck the family after the Lusitania was torpedoed and sunk within sight of the coast of southern Ireland by the German submarine
U-20. At that point in her voyage, she was only hours away from her destination!
All of the Bartley family lost their lives as a result of the sinking and none of their bodies was ever recovered from the sea and identified and consequently, none has a known grave! Gordon Bartley was aged only ten weeks at the time of his death.
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.
Cunard Records, Deaths at Sea 1871 – 1968, PRO BT 100/345, UniLiv D92/2/228, Graham Maddocks, Geoff Whitfield, Michael Poirier, Jim Kalafus, Cliff Barry, Paul Latimer, Norman Gray.
Copyright © Peter Kelly