William Hillary (Will) BARTLETT

BARTLETT, William Hillary

Service Number: 5785
Enlisted: 9 May 1916, Sydney, N.S.W.
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 17th Infantry Battalion
Born: Locksley, New South Wales, Australia, 1896
Home Town: St Peters (NSW), Inner West Council, New South Wales
Schooling: Tarana Public School, New South Wales, Australia
Occupation: Labourer (Carter)
Died: Killed in Action, Belgium, 20 September 1917
Cemetery: Buttes New British Cemetery, Polygon Wood
XXVI. A. 6.
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Tarana War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

9 May 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, 5785, Sydney, N.S.W.
7 Oct 1916: Involvement Private, 5785, 17th Infantry Battalion, Third Ypres
7 Oct 1916: Embarked Private, 5785, 17th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ceramic, Sydney
6 Feb 1917: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 17th Infantry Battalion, TOS, France
20 Sep 1917: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, 5785, 17th Infantry Battalion, 2nd Passchendaele , Reported WIA and Missing. On the 27th April 1918, CO 17th Btn, Court of Enquiry, determined KIA 20 Sept 1917.

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Biography contributed by Stephen Brooks

From the Red Cross Wounded and Missing files, the most reliable accounts say that he was a stretcher bearer, one of a group of four, who had a shell explode near them while carrying, which badly wounded two of them and they suspect killed Bartlett. Another soldier whose account is listed below, said he buried Bartlett on the night of 23 September 1917. He claimed to have buried 21 men of the 17th Battalion on the same night.

“Re your list of missing men of the 17th Battalion. I will give you this further information concerning them. On the night of 23 September, I buried 5785 W. Bartlett, 6281 W. Burkett, 2173 J.L. Milthorpe, 6420 J. Smith, 6421 A.Thompson and I buried and wrote to the next of kin of 3596 Sgt. S. Oakley.

4661 Private W.H. Back 21st Battalion AIF.

Bartlett’s remains were discovered during 1921 and he was buried in the Buttes New British Cemetery at Polygon Wood, Zonnebeke, Belgium.