Bartley, Second Lieutenant Robert Victor

No 10 Training Sqn Attached to No 1 School of Special Flying, RAF

Robert Bartley was born in Stawell, Victoria, and was working as a Metal Finisher when, aged 28, he enlisted in the AIF as a Private in the 11thInfantry Battalion at Melbourne on 5 January 1916. He was promoted to in Sergeant before departing Fremantle on HMAT A30 Borda on 29 June 1917, arriving at Plymouth at the end of August. On arrival in the UK he reverted to Private, but he soon transferred to the AFC and to No 5 Training Sqn AFC for flying instruction and then to No 10 Training Sqn RFC at Shawbury for higher instruction. He was promoted to Second Lieutenant as a Flying Officer (Pilot) on 12 May 1918.

He was killed in an aircraft accident at Fort Grange, Gosport, on 3 July 1918 when flying Sopwith Camel C9, coded ‘P’. The aeroplane dived into the ground from 500 feet while 2Lt Bartley was practising fighting against another machine, flown by Lt P O Boyle RAF. The Court of Enquiry decided that when manoeuvring he must have pulled back the control column so hard that his head was thrown onto the gun butts, thereby rendering him unconscious, so that he fell forward and caused the aeroplane to dive out of control. The Court of Enquiry was given evidence that his seat belt had either given way or was unfastened; it subsequently recommended that pilots be better secured in Camels, also that pilots should be better protected against hitting the guns in the event of a forced landing.

2Lt R V Bartley is buried in Grave 50 23678 at Gosport (Ann’s Hill) Cemetery, Hampshire, England.

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