William Hartley

Information about birth

Year of birth:
Place of birth:
Rochdale, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom

Army information

England, United Kingdom
British Expeditionary Force
Service number:
Enlistment place:
Rochdale, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom
 —  Lancashire Fusiliers, 11th Bn.  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
Place of death:
Westhoek, Zonnebeke, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)


Distinctions and medals 2

Points of interest 3

#1 Place of birth
#2 Enlistment place
#3 Place of death (approximate)

My story

Private William Hartley served in the Lancashire Fusiliers, 11th Battalion, part of the 74th Brigade of the 25th Division.
On the 10th of August 1917, the 25th Division participated in the Capture of Westhoek, a phase in the Third Battle of Ypres. The 74th Brigade was to attack with 4 battalions: the 13th Cheshires, 2nd Royal Irish Rifles, 9th Loyal North Lancs and 11th Lancashire Fusiliers. After a barrage of 25 minutes, they would advance along a frontline of 2000 yards.
At 4.45 am, zero hour, the four Battalions advanced towards Westhoek. The advance was hindered by the deep mud in Hanebeek valley. Furthermore, German artillery shelled the ridge, resulting in heavy casualties.
Between 8 and 9 am, a German bombardment fell on the original frontline, but at this time it had already been cleared so no casualties were made. The following hours, until noon, the German shelling continued to fall very heavily. After a moment of relative quietness, the shelling began anew at 3.45 pm. The right of the 11th Battalion suffered heavily because the German fire was directed by airplane and balloon observation.
At 8.25 pm, the British artillery opened a heavy barrage on Hannebeke Wood. The Germans attempted to advance but were stopped by fire from a gun pit. About 5 minutes later, a German barrage began and German soldiers tried to move forward but were stopped. A final counter-attack was made by the Germans at 9.15 pm when small parties advanced on the gun pit. However, the British managed to stop them.
Eventually, the 74th Brigade took the outpost line and Westhoek village. The position was consolidated.
Private William Hartley was killed in action on the 10th of August 1917. His remains were never identified so it is difficult to say where or in what stage of the battle he fell. He is remembered on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.

Sources 5

"The Third Ypres Passchendaele. The Day-by-Day Account", McCarthy C., London, Arms & Armour Press, 1995, pg. 39-43.
Sources used
Further reference
Sources used
The Long, Long Trail
Sources used
War Diary Lancashire Fusiliers 11th Bn.
Further reference