Albert Thorburn BARTLETT

BARTLETT, Albert Thorburn

Service Numbers: Not yet discovered
Enlisted: 2 February 1916
Last Rank: Lieutenant
Last Unit: 57th Infantry Battalion
Born: Williamstown, Victoria, Australia, 28 March 1876
Home Town: Corryong, Towong, Victoria
Schooling: Albury Grammar School, New South Wales, Australia
Occupation: Newspaper Proprietor
Died: Carcinoma of the stomach, Caulfield Military Hospital, Victoria, Australia, 17 September 1919, aged 43 years
Cemetery: Corryong Cemetery, Victoria
Memorials: Corryong State School No 1309 Honor Roll, Corryong War Memorial
Show Relationships

World War 1 Service

2 Feb 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1
24 Nov 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, Duntroon
21 Jun 1917: Involvement 57th Infantry Battalion, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '20' embarkation_place: Melbourne embarkation_ship: HMAT Suevic embarkation_ship_number: A29 public_note: ''
21 Jun 1917: Embarked 57th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Suevic, Melbourne
1 Jan 1918: Promoted AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 57th Infantry Battalion
22 Mar 1918: Wounded AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 57th Infantry Battalion
25 Jan 1919: Embarked AIF WW1, Lieutenant, Embarked in UK on the Ceramic for return to Australia.
17 Sep 1919: Involvement Lieutenant, 57th Infantry Battalion, --- :awm_ww1_roll_of_honour_import: awm_service_number: awm_unit: 57 Battalion awm_rank: Lieutenant awm_died_date: 1919-09-17

Help us honour Albert Thorburn Bartlett's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Stephen Learmonth

Albert Thorburn Bartlett was born in Williamstown, Victoria on 28 March 1876. At the time of his birth his father, Sidney, was 39, while his mother, Mary, was 35. He was one of eight children. Albert’s family moved to Corryong when he was about 10 years old where they had a farm at Thougla.

He went to primary school in Corryong and then attended boarding school in Albury to attend Albury Grammar School as there was no high school in Corryong at that time. Albert studied at Melbourne University, passing his matriculation examinations in 1891, before returning to Corryong. He worked on his father’s farm and tried his hand at mining. He also worked for the Corryong Courier writing articles about local events, as well as writing articles for newspapers in Melbourne and Sydney under the pen name ‘Kerani’.

When the opportunity arose, Albert bought the newspaper and became editor. He was a leading member of the community and was involved in many committees that established the sporting facilities and infrastructures we have today, including the Corryong Park, Athenaeum Hall, Upper Murray Football Association, Corryong Football Club, Corryong Racing Club, the Water Supply, Corryong Hospital, Presbyterian Church, Agricultural and Pastoral Committees and the Corryong Progressive Society.

When World War 1 began in 1914, Albert helped to organise farewell parties and published letters in the Corryong Courier from the local soldiers who were in Europe. In 1916 at the age of 39, he enlisted and was sent to Sydney to train as an officer. During July and August of 1916, Albert passed through No. 3 OTS at the Australian Army Officer training establishment at Duntroon in the ACT. Along with Albert was another Corryong lad, Tom Robinson, who would later be killed in action on 12 October 1917, when fighting with the 38th Battalion in Belgium.

Albert embarked on HMAT  A29 Suevic, on 21 June 1917 commanding the 9th Reinforcements for the 57th Battalion. He disembarked at Liverpool, England on 26 August 1917, and marched into the 15th Training Battalion at Hurdcott on the same day. In early September he attended the Officers Training School at Candahar Barracks, Tidworth, rejoining the 15th Training Battalion on the 13 October. An Australian NCO at Tidworth around the time that Albert was there was Sergeant Alfred Bray. Alfred kept a detailed diary of his exploits during World War 1 and described the operation and the layout of the Training School at Tidworth.

“ … I was sent to No 3 officers Training School at Candahar Barracks Tidworth which is one of several barracks there. These barracks are supposed to be the most comfortable military quarters in the world. Adjoining Candahar is the Bhurtpore Barracks which at that time was the A.I.F. Headquarters of the Southern Command in England. Tidworth itself is only a very small village but is beautifully layed [sic] out with artificial forest through which runs a number of small water course & the roads are all asphalt which practically make the whole place perfect. The barracks are also surrounded by tennis courts, polo grounds, football grounds & a cricket ground which have been made for the benefit of the troops stationed at Tidworth. About a mile away to the South East of Tidworth lay the big Australian Detail camp of Perim Downs which at this time acommodated [sic] some thousands of troops. The Australians in this camp were men who were training for their return to the units in the field after being evacuated from hospital through sickness or wounds received in France. The course of training at the school was most interesting touching on all the most important subjects of military training on all the most important subjects of military training, organisation, & administration. The staff consisted of all Imperial officers & senior N.C.Os who had been well schooled in their respective subjects & after many years of training showed us what real peacetime soldiering meant for very few of the staff had taken part in the great war up to that time. The training extended beyond the school grounds for manouvres [sic] were carried out both day & night covering miles especially in subjects like patrols or attacking concealed positions at night. Bicycles were often used for such subjects as map reading, Billeting of troops & scouting & throughout the whole of these trainings not one grew monotonous. Leave was granted of a Sunday & on these occasions I made use of same by going to Salisbury which was done by a big motor bus. This was a beautiful trip for the weather was good which accompanied by the scenery which in these parts is beautiful made the trip worth while [sic]. There were plenty of amusements in the Barracks for there were several picture shows & Y.M.C.As, billiard rooms & also a big theatre which put on some very good shows.”

Albert proceeded overseas to France on 13 December 1917, marching into the 5th Australian Divisional Base Depot at Le Havre two days later. The day after, on the 16 December, he was taken on strength of the 57th Battalion and on the first day of the new year was promoted to Lieutenant. He attended the 10 Corps School on 14 January. The 29 January Edition of the Sydney Morning Herald described the operation of the Australian Corp School.

“The Australian Corps School has evolved into a magnificent institution. It has assumed the proportions of a small military college, with highly trained instructors. Each division sends 20 officers and 45 men for every course. The training embraces all details of infantry education, machine gun, Lewis gun, trench mortar, bombing, bayonet fitting, intelligence, signalling, cooking, and sanitation. It has acquired a very high standard of efficiency and discipline, and organised recreational sports are also compulsory. Under a system of competitive work by the divisions it turns out keen soldiers, and is of a high value as a preparatory school for officer candidates from the ranks. The men here learn not merely how to become good soldiers, but also military pride. There are battalions, many of which now possess battle flags richer in emblazoned honours than many British regiments could boast before this war. It has become a reputation of the Australian army that it can do anything well which it undertakes. This reputation, built up by the divisions in the past, is fostered at the school by every possible means. The results of the good work of this little Australian military college in the field is visible to a great extent in the magnificent health, spirits, and soldier-like qualities of the troops in line. A finer and more efficient army of its size was never sent into battle. Every man in the force believes he can go anywhere and do anything like the veterans of Wellington. The leadership of the officers is of the same high standard as the fighting powers of the men.”

Albert rejoined his unit on 20 February. At the time it was in the midst of preparing to relieve the 30th Battalion, which was in the line near Messines.

On 22 March, Albert was wounded in action with a gunshot wound to the leg. He recorded the incident in a letter to a friend who then sent it on to the Corryong Courier.

"It was a pretty rotten shop—wet and cold and miserable, and a couple of dead Fritzes just in front of our wire did not improve it. They had been there nearly a fortnight when we came out. We had just completed a fire week's tour in the line," continues Lieutenant Bartlett. "It was a pretty hot corner, and our casualties had been fairly heavy. My sector comprised a group of five "shell hole posts" about 300 yards in front of the line and about 60 yards from the Hun line. I had 40 men altogether in the live posts.

There was no daylight communication. We went out at night and stopped there six days at a time. Our rations and ammunition were brought up at night.

The enemy trench mortars were our worst trouble. You can dodge machine gun and rifle fire, but the minenwerfer drop on you from the sky, and they contain 180 pounds of high explosives, and make a crater big enough to burn a couple of service waggons in. They blew out four of my live posts, but we were lucky. They never succeeded in hitting one in the first shot, and we were able, most of us, to crawl out into shell holes and dodge them.

Of course getting half buried everyday or two became quite a habit. We had just completed our last spin and were on our way out for a spell when the big row started. It began with a violent bombardment along the whole front. I was put in charge of four strong points and took 50 men up to man them. We were shelled all the way up, but we got off the road a couple of hundred yards and worked up the flank and got in without any casualties.

There was a bit of a lull then and I got the men in and had just been round the posts seeing that everything was right, when the shelling started again and I "got my issue" in the left leg. It was not very serious, but the piece stayed in the muscle and I could not get about very well. It was soon fixed up and I am having a few days' light duty before moving up again.”

He then went through a number of medical facilities which included the No. 1 Australian Casualty Clearing Station and No. 35 General Hospital at Calais. He was finally discharged on 7 April and marched into the Australian Intermediate Base Dept at Le Havre on 9 April. He finally rejoined his battalion on the 4 May but was then detached to the 60th Battalion for a period of two weeks in early July.

He arrived back at the 37th Battalion on the 13 July but was sent to the 4th Army School the following day. He rejoined the 37th Battalion on 20 August.

He was admitted to No. 53 Casualty Clearing Station on 28 August with sciatica and then moved onto the No. 8 General Hospital at Rouen, via No. 33 Ambulance Train, one day later. During September, and the first half of November, he passed through the No. 3 London General Hospital, and the Queen Alexandria Military Hospital in Milbank, before being discharged to the Overseas Training Brigade on 7 December 1918.

On 25 January 1919, Albert boarded the Hospital Transport Ceramic, disembarking at Melbourne on 23 March. He died at No. 11 Australian General Hospital on 17 September 1919 as a result of carcinoma of the stomach, which was thought to have been brought on by an infection caused by his early wound. Albert was brought back to Corryong and buried in the Corryong cemetery.

Albert’s next of kin details were changed after his death to allocate his oldest sister, Helen, to be the recipient of any information as well as his service medals. This may have been due to his father being 82, his mother having passed away in 1898, and his eldest brother, William, having passed away in 1921.  A letter dated July 5, 1923, written in a very shaky hand, informs us that Helen had been financially dependent on Albert due to her suffering a disability as the result of a coach accident and the age of 30 which gave her only partial use of her hands. At the time of her correspondence, she was 59 and living at 66 Stewart St, in South Camberwell, Victoria. Helen would pass away in October of 1928 and was survived by her sisters Anna, Edith, Alice, and Ivy.

Albert is remembered on the Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, the Corryong State School Honour Roll, and the Corryong War Memorial. One of the classrooms in the Years 5 to 8 Hub at Corryong College has a classroom named in his honour. For his service during the First World War, he was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.