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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Private James Henry Hartley, M.G.C., died in Louisville, Kentucky


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I recently photographed his gravestone in Louisville. Camp Zachary Taylor was a military training camp; would a private have been there assisting in training U.S. troops?

He doesn't seem to be named on Rawtenstall's war memorial.


Rank: Private

Service No: 3389

Date of Death: 20/04/1918

Regiment/Service: Machine Gun Corps attd. British Military Mission

Grave Reference: 4781. Sec.E. (U.S. Soldiers).


Additional Information: Husband of E. E. Nerney (formerly Hartley), of 24, Prospect Hill, Rawtenstall, Manchester, England


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I wonder why no CWGC headstone? There are such in the US, several to British seamen in WW2 died from torpedoed ships & washed ashore & buried. His MIC needs to be looked at, if no service anwyaher else would he have the BWM for coming here since it was an Allied nation? Very interesting story, may have newspaper article locally there. Seems a bit too ealry for the flu pandemic. Please post any info that turns up.

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Hartley is no relation to me but I have a vague recollection that forum member Paul Guthrie knows something of his story.

You're right, indeed he does and I'll contact him. http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=106232&page=1 (post #11)

I don't think I've come across any CWGC headstones for WW1 burials in the US; WW2, yes. Those WW1 headstones recorded by the CWGC that I've seen there have all been the originals from the date of burial.

Thank you all for responding.

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  • Admin

I wonder why no CWGC headstone?

CWGC R of H shows his grave, in the soldier's section of the cemetery, is marked by a 'US Govt Hdst E.'

There are many WW1 graves in the USA maintained under a reciprocal arrangement with CWGC. The database lists 151 casualties.

The 'E' pattern headstone appears to be the most commonly used for British casualties in North America, as well as 'private memorials'. A couple of examples are Fort Worth and Arlington.

The correspondence appears to be in the CWGC archives http://www.cwgc.org/media/14236/ac_part_1_sections_07-08.pdf Section 7


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  • 4 years later...

Some sources suggest that James Hartley was "posted to the British War Mission in the United States as a machine gun instructor" This seems unlikely and it is more probable that the 38 year Private was employed as an officer's Batman. A check of 'Who's Who' of the British Mission to the USA confirms this organisation was "top heavy" in commissioned ranks and the British Military Mission (Training) was only under remit, and configured, to deliver advice on training and not actual "hands on" training. This advice was delivered at Brigade level and based on one officer who was inevitably supported by a "soldier servant" - to use the terminology of the day.  SDGW Records tell us James Hartley "Died" but the Filson Historical Society (local to his grave) is more shockingly informative telling us "Sadly, in 1918, an influenza outbreak at the camp killed 824 soldiers and put 13,000 in the hospital." As background - James Hartley married Ellen Kelshaw at St John’s Church, Cloughfold, Lancashire. This Church was closed in 1976 and it is not known if the Church ever had a memorial or it had a memorial that has now been "lost".

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