Allan Owen Bartlett

Second Lieutenant Allan Owen Bartlett of the Royal Army Service Corps, formerly Private 3267 & 201082 Hampshire Regiment, was killed in action on 15th October 1918, aged 30.

Early Life & Winchester Training College

He was the eldest son of Jesse and Agnes Bartlett having been born 9th June 1888. At the time of the 1891 Census they were all living at Main Road, Bedhampton, Havant, along with Alec their youngest, and Jesse’s mother in law, Mary  Carpenter. It also shows that Jesse was living on his own money and that Mary was being supported by her children, quite a charitable enterprise. The 1911 Census shows the family living in Leigh House, Jesse’s occupation has changed to nurseryman (a worker). Allan began his schooling at Bedhampton School before moving on to Havant School.

To gain the level of education deemed necessary to gain a place at a Training College, Allan needed to attend a secondary school. He attended Peter Symonds School in Winchester. It is reasonable to assume that as Allan lived some distance from Winchester that he would most likely have been one of those students who boarded at the school. Allan then spent time as a pupil teacher at St Thomas School, Winchester, which was a practising school for those who wanted to gain teaching experience. The school war memorial (now in the King’s School, Winchester) includes a number of WTC alumni. We have an interesting dilemma with the records covering Allan’s education. His record in the College Student Record book makes no mention of Allan attending Peter Symonds School. His military enlistment forms make no mention of Bedhampton or Havant Schools. In the latter case it may be that the military forms required only his final school, but the omission of Peter Symonds from his College record is rather more puzzling. It is possible that Allan attended all these schools, so in the hope that further information may be uncovered at some stage, they have all been included here.

Allan entered the College in 1907 for the two year course, aged 19 years. The Wintonian summed up the effect of Teaching Practice in March 1908, at the time when Allan was present.

‘Some members of the year have started their practical teaching at the Practising School. This is a pleasant time to which the remainder have to look forward. It entails a greater amount of work than ordinary life at College, especially in the preparation of lessons in the evening. Several have already experienced the great strain that is made on the vocal organs, particularly those who rely on a loud voice to preserve discipline in the class. As this part of our work here is of the highest importance, we are pleased to see the energy and interest displayed in it.’

It is interesting to read that the author of the time thought that Teaching Practice enhanced the ordinary life of the College, which was a routine established within given parameters but hardly ordinary as it was so full each day with work and sports.

Allan’s record at the College shows he was quite sporty: he was Captain of the Second XI football team, as revealed in the photograph. The Wintonian recorded a number of his exploits and achievements.

The Wintonian 1908-1910 reports that he was the star of Sports Day securing first places the 100 yards, the quarter mile, the half mile, the mile and the potato spearing on bicycles race. He also shared first place in the one mile walking race and a second place in the long jump. He was awarded the Championship Challenge Cup for the best performance on Sports Day, with the Championship Cup being presented by  Mrs H. Martin, the wife of the Principal. The competition that year, according to a local newspaper, was held at the Army Playing Field on Airlie Road, situated just down the hill from the College buildings.

The following year Bartlett shone again being placed first in the 100 yards, quarter mile, half mile, mile and mile walk. He was second in the hurdles and for the second year running was awarded the Championship Cup.

He returned the year after he had left College to win the Fossils Race, as reported in the Wintonian, ‘with his accustomed agility and grace.’

Amongst the Territorials, he also scored the best average for recruits on the rifle range.

In the Pageant, Allan Bartlett had two roles. He was a British Chief and a Tudor Gentleman.

In the Juniors Farewell Concert, Allan played a pianoforte solo.

There were many examinations taken by students during their two years at College. Allan was recorded as gaining 1st class pass in Freehand Drawing and a 2nd Class pass in the Archbishop’s Examination in Religious Studies (1st year), and 2nd class passes in Model and Light and shade Drawing and Geometry. In his final year he obtained a 1st Class pass for the Archbishop’s exam, A grades in Music and Drawing, and a B grade for Teaching. (There is a discrepancy in the records for Allan. The Archbishop’s Examination results show the first year and second year  classifications reversed in his personal record from the class list.)

By the 1911 Census Allan had moved away from home, to Wimbledon where he was boarding with sisters Dora and Marie Vizetelly at 21 Delemere Road. He was listed as an Elementary School Teacher, and Maria was a secretary in a builders’ merchants. Allan’s first teaching appointment after he had finished his training was at the Church Schools in Wimbledon. On May 23rd 1913 Allan married Maria Ernestine Vizetelly at Holy Trinity Church, Wimbledon; the register records the same address for both bride and groom. It is interesting to see the occupations of both fathers: Allan’s had changed again to a tobacconist, location unknown and Maria’s father, Ernest Alfred Vizetelly, is listed as an author.

Outbreak of The War

Upon the outbreak of war Allan enlisted, in September 1914, in the 2/4th Hampshire Regiment (service number 3267 and 201082), whilst his brother Alec joined the 1/4th Hampshires (service number 3279 and 201092). The former number refers to the regimental number and rank on entry into the theatre of war. The latter number referred to the individual’s position on the 11th November 1918 or on becoming non effective.

Allan’s service record shows that he served in a Home Service Unit from enlistment until the 23rd October 1916. He was with the 84th Provisional Battalion on the Northumberland coast in late 1915 and early 1916. A newspaper report shows us that Allan continued to enjoy Cross Country events, being placed 7th in a field of 797 competitors.

Newcastle Journal, Monday 29th November 1915

At the time of his enlistment Allan was recorded as being 5ft 7 ½ in tall, with a chest measurement of 37 ½ in and good eyesight and physical development. On 30th April 1916 Maria gave birth to their son John Jesse V (Vizetelly?) Bartlett (who died in Winchester in 1991 aged 74).

On the 24th October 1916 Allan left for India where he remained until the 27th April 1917. Then on the 28th April 1917 he joined the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, landing in Suez, and on 15th May 1917 they were attached to the 233rd Brigade in 75th Division. The brigade took over the defences of Rafa in the Sinai in the June of that year and saw action as part of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force’s invasion of Palestine starting with the Third Battle of Gaza and thereafter being engaged with the enemy almost monthly. Sometime in May 1918 the 2/4th left for France and landed at Marseilles on 1st June 1918. Four days later they were attached to 186th Brigade in the 62nd (2nd West Riding ) Division. Soon after this, according to the Medal Roll index, Allan was discharged from the Hampshires, to take a commission in the Army Service Corps as Second Lieutenant, 1 which the London Gazette for 24th September 1918 also records.

Allan remained in Palestine to take up his new role within motorised transport, when the rest of the Hampshires left for France. Actions in Palestine at this time of the war were mainly clearance actions as the Turks were ground down to sue for peace. Allan was an officer in the Camel Transport Corps and from June 1918 we have a record of his movements:

6.6.18: Attached No. 1 Depot C.T.C.

21.6.18: Section Officer K Company C.T.C.

15.7.18: Quartermaster D Company C.T.C.

9.9.18: Attached No. 1 Depot C.T.C.

10.9.18.: Section Officer No. 2 Depot C.T.C.

18.9.18: Section Officer M Company C.T.C.

15.10.18: Killed in Action

He had two recorded spells in hospital during this time, once for an ear infection and once for dysentery.

Allan was killed in action 15th October 1918. At the time of his death the British West Indian Regiment was involved in clearing Turkish lines which resulted in a number of deaths. Allan had been tasked with clearing an ammunition dump that the Turks had abandoned during their retreat.  A devastating explosion in one of the caves where the ammunition had been stored, cost several lives. Allan did not die in that initial explosion, but he ran into the second cave with the intention of clearing out his men who were working there. Upon entering the cave there was another explosion which killed Allan. There was a lot of confusion after the explosions as to what had caused them. A Court of Inquiry was set up to determine what exactly had happened. A transcript of the inquiry is added at the end of this narrative. There were two possible conclusions: that the men had died in an accidental explosion, or that their deaths were due to the ammunition dump being booby-trapped and therefore their deaths were a direct result of enemy action and so classified as killed in action.

Back at home Marie was receiving contradictory reports. She was first informed that Allan had been killed in action. Then in January 1919 she was told:

Dear Madam

I am directed by the Military Secretary to write and inform you that a further report has now been received at the War Office, concerning the death of your husband 2nd Lt A.O.Bartlett, Royal Army Service Corps, who was reported killed in action on the 16th of October last.

The report now received states that your husband was accidentally killed owing to the explosion of an ammunition gun, the authority for this report being advanced Headquarters, Chaytor’s Force.

I am desired by the Military Secretary and the Secretary of State for War to again express their deepest sympathy with you in this sad loss of your gallant husband.

The Court of Inquiry determined that the explosions were not accidental and therefore Allan was killed in action. A transcript of the courts findings is included in the Appendix, below.

After his death there was an inventory of his kit. Allan had been a keen sportsman at College and it would seem from some of the items among his kit that he had continued to participate in sport:

1 Valise Containing, 1 Mattress, 2 Blankets, 1Trench Coat and fleece lining, 1 Pillow, 1 Tunic (Service Dress), 2 prs Breeches, 1 Football Jersey, 1 pr Leggings, 2 Shirts, 2 Tunics (Khaki Drill) 2 Stars, 6½ prs Socks, 2 prs Slacks (KD), 6 Towels, 2 Pyjamas suits, 1 Mosquito net, Greatcoat (issue, retained ACD), 1 pr Stockings, 6 Handkerchiefs, Glove odd, 3 Collars and 2 Ties. 1 Kit Bag Containing, Letters, photos etc, 1 pr Boot hooks, 1 Pocket Chess Board and men, 1 Waistbelt, 1 Mirror, 1 pr Shin-guards, 1 (SD) Cap, 1 pr Braces, 2 Hair brushes, 1 pr Field boots, 1 Nail brush, 1 Housewife , 1 Badge, 1 Soap box, 1 Identity disc, 1 Balaclava, 1 Diary, 1 Clothes brush, 1 pr Gloves, 1 pocket knife, 4 Metal stars, 1 sword frog, 1 Razor, 1 Tabloids (bottle), 1 pr Running pumps, 1 Photo wallet, 1 pr ankle Boots and 1 Camp bed in canvas bag.

The Housewife was an army issue cloth pouch containing all that a soldier would need to carry out basic repairs to his clothing, and a sword frog was a holder to enable the sword to be carried at your side.

Allan was first buried in the Military Cemetery in Jericho, but at some later date he must have been moved as his grave is located now in Jersualem Cemetery in Grave number 26. The Turks eventually sued for peace at the end of October 1918.

Probate and Soldiers effects records state that Maria was the recipient of effects to the value of £133.

Allan’s father in law, Edward Vizetelley, in his book Paris and her People under the Third Republic published by Chatto and Windus in 1919, dedicated the book to both son in law and grandson.

After Allan’s death, Maria married George Clifford with whom she had a baby, Peter William in 1922. Peter died in the Mediterranean in 1944 whilst flying as part of 148 Special Duties Squadron RAF. Maria died in 1979 in Winchester aged 87. John Jesse Bartlett, Allan’s son lived until February 1991 when he also died in Winchester.


Author and Researcher: John Westwood. Revised, with inquest data, by Dee Sayers


Court of Inquiry Transcript

Transcript of the Court of Inquiry proceedings into the death of 2nd Lieutenant A O Bartlett and others on 15th October 1918 near Nimrin, which is located in the area just west of the Sea of Galilee in the north of the valley of the river Jordan within modern-day Israel (then the Palestine area of the Ottoman Empire).  Nimrin was a small Arab town then, of about 200-300 inhabitants.  Es Salt is located east of the River in modern-day Jordan, then Transjordan, west and slightly north of Amman.  The Turkish army had retreated from this area and Turkey was suing for peace terms; an Armistice was signed on 30th October 1918, 2 weeks after the events recorded here.

The proceedings were included in Bartlett’s personal file, now held at the National Archives, and appear to have been hand-written in pencil or an ink that has faded badly in places with the passage of time.  Some words remain un-decipherable even after application of image processing, but the majority is still just readable with the naked eye.

Used within the transcribed text:

{?} encloses a word or words which are unclear in the original but the suggested word or words seem most likely from the context.

{  } encloses transcribed signature blocks appended to statements.

[…] indicates where a word or words are not readable even in enhanced images and the missing text cannot be confidently approximated from the context.

Specific references to 2nd Lt Bartlett are highlighted in bold text in the transcript.

The significance of the Court’s recorded, and confirmed, opinion as to the cause of the deaths is that it provided official sanction for their classification as Killed in Action or Died of Wounds, as appropriate, even though the enemy was not present in the area at the time. This would almost certainly have had the beneficial effect of justifying the award of War Pensions to surviving Next of Kin, whereas Accidental Death would not, and it is presumed that it was for this reason that a copy was inserted in Bartlett’s file, which typically dealt mostly with the tying-up of Service Accounts, payment of net balances of pay and allowances due to the Estate, and return of personal effects to the Next of Kin.

Some acronyms:

Attd – Attached (to);
Bn or Bttn – Battalion;
BWI – British West Indian Regiment;
Coy – Company;
Chaytor’s Force – an irregular mixed divisional-strength force (about 12,000 men) established under the command of Maj-Gen E W C Chaytor during operations in Palestine;
CTC – Camel Transport Corps;
Dvr – Driver (in this context usually a camel driver);
Mtd – Mounted;
Pte – Private;
RE – Royal Engineers;
RHA – Royal Horse Artillery;
Sergt – Sergeant.


Proceedings of a: Court of Inquiry

Assembled at: Desert Mounted Corps Reinforcement Camp Jericho

On the: Twenty third day of October 1918

By order of: Major-General E W C Chaytor KCMG CB ADC, Commanding Anzac Mtd Division

For the purpose of: Inquiring into the circumstances surrounding explosion of enemy ammunition dump on NIMRIN – ES SALT Road on the 15th Oct 18, and how the following met their death —


1619 Sergt EDWARDS L R,

1713 Pte MARTIN T,

1778 Pte SCOTT J H, 2nd Bn BWI,






M5437 Dvr DAUD SOLIMAN ALI, Camel Transport Corps

President: Capt J E Knos   Worcester Yeomanry (OC Des Corps Reinf’t Camp Jericho

Members: Lieut J Sandow  RHA, Lieut W H Twells  3rd Scottish Rifles attd 2nd BWI

The Court having assembled, pursuant to order, proceed to:

Take evidence.  1st Witness […] A E Freeland  OC 35th Coy {Acting?} {Capt} […] RE states:

He was Engineering Officer in charge of road work between JORDAN and ES SALT. He heard […] was {at?} NIMRIN.  About 1500 {hours?} on 15th I heard a loud explosion from the direction where the Turkish Ammunition Dump lay. I {saddled?} up and rode there with my groom. On the way I met a BWI private who was greatly excited and shouted for God’s sake do not go there, the ammunition has exploded and everyone is killed. I sent my groom back to telephone immediately to the A/OC Anzacs and the hospital for ambulances. I proceeded on my way and later was overtaken by a BWI officer who {offered?} to bind up the wounds on some of the men. On arriving at the proximity of the ammunition dump I found Lieut Gibb RE Signals. He informed me that a number were killed but no wounded were left as far as he could ascertain. We went forward to the site of the cave from which the explosions were taking place and watched the ground with glasses, discovering a wounded BWI sergeant who sat up and waved. We went across and managed to {carry?} him out of the danger zone. A dead camel was burning fiercely surrounded by cases of ammunition. These we removed to prevent explosions spreading. The BWI sergeant {reported to me?} that there were three tiers of boxes in one of the caves, and the {1st and 2nd?} were removed safely but when lifting a box off the lowest tier they heard a hissing and they dropped the box and rushed out of the cave. He remembered no more but had evidently been blown right across the stream and road as we found him lying on the opposite {hillside?}. I {scanned?} the {area?} with glasses but could discover no other {living?} person. The explosions continued at short and irregular intervals till nightfall.

From enquiries made from the BWI wounded and the camel leaders I ascertained that all the casualties with the exception of the death of Lieut A Bartlett were caused by the first explosion in the south cave. After the explosion 2/Lt Bartlett returned apparently to get his camel boys and camels out of danger and was caught by the second explosion from the north cave.

I sent a man over the hill to stop all traffic from the east and also arranged for a sentry to be posted to stop all traffic from the west. Next morning I examined the caves. I could find no reason why the second cave should have caught alight unless by some arranged fuse. Also at the side of the road there were a large number of armour piercing shells which had been stacked with them pointing towards the road. These had been entirely covered over before the explosion and had been thrown back in the direction of the caves due [as found?} to an explosion that had taken place under the road in the centre of a culvert. The explosion had blown out on both sides of the road but had not had the effect apparently intended [despite?] the HE shells with which it was found the culvert was lined.

I am of the opinion that the cause of explosions was a {mine?} laid by the enemy which was meant to blow the road up {with?} all the ammunition and dynamite stacked on both sides of the road and effectually block the road to all wheeled traffic.

{Signed: A E Freeland} Capt RE


Second Witness: Lt G T Gibb RE TF, OC {Div?} {Water?} Section states:

About 1500 on the afternoon of 15th October 18 I was proceeding on the road towards […] to […] {Camp Red?} and saw black smoke […] in front of me further up the road. About 1515 I was stopped by a […] of the BWI […] the explosion. I gathered from him that the Turkish ammunition dump has exploded. I left the lorry there and proceeded on foot. On the way I met about 10 men of the CTC. Several were wounded — one apparently very badly, also a man of the BWI Regiment. I sent them on to the lorry. I went further and found an officer’s charger loose. I caught it and went on. I climbed up the hills on the right of the road to get a better view. I found two […] of the BWI Regiment, both were badly dazed and unfit to render any assistance. I rode back to the lorry and instructed the driver to proceed and report what had happened, asking the 11th Coy to […] by ’phone and ask for assistance and take back to the 30th Coy the wounded men previously referred to. I went back to near the explosions and climbed the hill on the {west?} of the road. I saw three or four apparently dead and no sign of any movement. Pieces of shell were continuously being blown in this direction. I shifted from 30 to 40 camels which were standing quite near the […] explosions. One camel was dead and burning fiercely and there were a number of boxes of ammunition close by. As the explosions continued I did not think it possible to render further assistance but remained close at hand until Capt Freeland RE arrived, when we made a further […]. I can give no further information as to the cause of the explosions. I assisted Capt Freeland to remove some ammunition and a wounded soldier of the BWI Regiment. He made no further statement in my hearing.

{Signed G T Gibb} RE T{F?}, OC {DT?} Cable Section

Third Witness Pte King G No 9286 2nd Bn BWI Regiment states:

I was one of the BWI Guard on the Turkish Ammunition Dump about 1500 on the 15th October 1918. The Sergeant of the Guard and the men on duty were helping the CTC men to move ammunition from the dump and load the camels. I was myself off duty and outside my bivouac. I heard a loud explosion and was at the same time struck on my right side. The dump was a mass of smoke and it was impossible to see anything below. Shells continued to explode and I took cover. Shortly afterwards I tried to reach my camp about four miles distant to report what had happened.

{Signed G King, Pte}


Fourth Witness L4661 {Bach Rae?} Bashar Hamza Ahmed, M Coy CTC states:

I was in camp at NIMRIN on 15th October when a lorry halted on the road. It contained 8 wounded CTC drivers. I asked Driver Daoud Soliman Aly what had happened and he made the following statement “I was returning to take another load of ammunition from the dump and noticed the Officer, a BWI Sergeant and five drivers standing close together by a cave and two of the drivers lifted a box. There was a slight noise and then an instantaneous explosion from below the box being moved.” This was the only statement this driver made.

Translated for Witness by Lt C H {Buck?} M Coy CTC L4561 Bach Rae Bashar Hamza Ahmed {Signed by thumbprint}


Fifth Witness Lieut Ian McDonald attached HQ Chaytor’s Force states:

Acting under instruction from Chaytor’s Force I visited the Turkish Ammunition Dump on the 11th October 18 with Colonel {Brusemer?}. We examined the ammunition and in some cases removed boxes from the stacks. We noticed at the time that the ammunition had been disturbed by Bedwins (sic). There was no indication to lead us to believe that a mine had been laid. Next day I again visited the Ammunition Dump with Lt Sandow RHA. We thoroughly examined all ammunition again moving cases. As previously, no indications of enemy mines were observed. I issued orders that M Coy CTC should proceed to NIMRIN and carry out salvage of ammunition, the detachment of 2nd Battn BWI Regiment at NIMRIN supplying the loading party. On the evening of the 15th October 18 I was advised of the explosion and visited the spot. As it was then dark it was impossible to see the extent of damage. At daylight next morning I again visited the scene with Capt Freeland RE. On examining the dumps which had exploded I came to the conclusion that it was an enemy trap from the fact that the contents of the dumps which had exploded first were thrown on top of a stack of 6″ shells which were {packed?} alongside the road and also {under?} the road. This stack instead of damaging the road when it exploded blew back across the Wadi.

{signed Ian McDonald, Lt}

Opinion of the Court

The Court having considered the evidence are of the opinion that the following:


1619 Sergt EDWARDS L R, 22nd BWI Regt,

1713 Pte MARTIN T, Ditto

1778 Pte SCOTT J H, Ditto




M5421 Dvr ISMAIL ALY NASR, Ditto

M5077 Dvr TARA IMAM AHMED, Ditto


All met their death as a result of the explosion of an enemy mine which caused the explosion of the enemy ammunition dump on the NIMRIN – ES SALT Road about 1500 on the 15th October 1918.

{signed by President and Members}


I concur and confirm the proceedings.

{signed P H? {Broadbent?}}


Commanding Palestine Lines of Communication


Endorsed by hand in ink:  I concur

E W C Chaytor Maj Gen

Comdg Chaytor’s Force


[1] Some references record him as Lieutenant-Quartermaster
Ancestry (2018) Home page. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2018].

British Newspaper Archive (2018). Hampshire Chronicle – Saturday 30 May 1908, p.7. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2018].

Commonwealth War Graves Commission, (2018). Home page. [online] Available at [Accessed 2018].

Great War Forum, (2018). Home page. [online] Available at [Accessed 2018].

The Long Long Trail, (2018). Welcome to the long long trail. [online] Available at [Accessed 2018].

Rose, M. (1981) A history of King Alfred™s College, Winchester 1840-1980. London: Phillimore.

Vickers, J. The University of Winchester Chapel Memorial Rail image.

Winchester City F.C. (2018). History. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2018].


University of Winchester Archive “ Hampshire Record Office
Reference code Record
47M91W/ P2/4 The Wintonian 1899-1900
47M91W/ P2/5 The Wintonian 1901-1902
47M91W/ P2/6 The Wintonian 1903-1904
47M91W/ P2/7 The Wintonian 1904-1906
47M91W/ P2/8 The Wintonian 1905-1907
47M91W/ P2/10 The Wintonian 1908-1910
47M91W/ P2/11 The Wintonian 1910-1914
47M91W/ P2/12 The Wintonian 1920-1925
47M91W/ D1/2 The Student Register
47M91W/ S5//5/10 Photograph of 5 alumni in Mesopotamia
47M91W/ Q3/6 A Khaki Diary
47M91W/ B1/2 Reports of Training College 1913-1914
47M91W/ Q1/5 Report and Balance Sheets 1904- 1949
47M91W/ R2/5 History of the Volunteers Company 1910
47M91W/ L1/2 College Rules 1920
Hampshire Record Office archive
71M88W/6 List of Prisoners at Kut
55M81W/PJ1 Managers™ Minute Book 1876-1903
All material referenced as 47M91W/ is the copyright of The University of Winchester. Permission to reproduce photographs and other material for this narrative has been agreed by the University and Hampshire Record Office.