George Arthur Bartley, always known as Arthur, was born in December 1910, the son of Gordon Noble and Ellen Bartley (née Beard).
In February 1911, Arthur’s father immigrated to Canada with the intention of finding work and a place to live before having Arthur and his mother follow him. Having settled in Welland, Ontario, he sent for Arthur and his mother who arrived in June of the same year. In February 1915, Arthur’s little brother, John Gordon was born.
In the spring of 1915 Arthur Bartley’s parents decided to return to England and as a result some time in April the four of them left Welland and on 1st May 1915, they boarded the
Lusitania at the Cunard berth at Pier 54 in New York, in time for her scheduled 10.00 a.m. sailing for Liverpool.
The liner’s departure for Liverpool was actually delayed until the early afternoon, to take on board passengers, cargo and some 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, six days later, 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 hours from her destination.
The family was wiped out by this action as all four were killed and as none of their bodies was ever recovered from the sea and identified, none has an identified grave. Arthur Bartley was aged a mere 4½ 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.
His paternal grandmother, Mrs. Mary Bartley, had immigrated to Canada in 1911, and was partially dependant on George Noble Bartley. She lodged a claim with the Canadian Commission for compensation for his loss and the loss of the family possession. On the 15th June 1926, she was awarded the sum of $2,000.00 for the loss of her son, with interest of 5% per annum from the 10th January 1920, and $1,450.00 for the loss of the family possessions with interest of 5% per annum from the 7th May 1915 to the date of the settlement.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1911 Census of England & Wales, Canadian Passenger Lists 1865 – 1935, Canadian Claims Case No. 805, Deaths at Sea 1871 – 1968, Cunard Records, 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