Bartley, Roger

Roger Bartley was to die 4 days after V.E. Day, and Roger’s name was never put on the Hawarden War Memorial slate plaques, I don’t know why his name was not put forward earlier, but his name was added later to the top of the curbing on the wall, – (side of the left hand corner facing Wall, looking out onto the Hawarden/Ewloe Road.)   (Left of 1st Tablet – WW2 – see Hawarden Parish Council Minutes).

I looked at the Hawarden Council minutes and they can shed some light onto his story :-

Hawarden Council Minutes Book  – PC/28/8 – Page 248 Regular Meeting 11th October 1948 –  Item 9 War Memorial

The Clerk said that he had been approached by a lady from Queensferry, Mrs Roger BARTLEY, who asked that her husband’s name be inscribed on the Memorial.   As the name had not been been submitted to the Queensferry Welcome Home Committee, he had written to the Secretary for further information.    A letter was received from the Secretary giving the history of the particular case, from which it appeared that Mr. BARTLEY had enlisted from Connah’s Quay, his home at the time, and it was suggested that if the name has not- or is not likely to be inscribed on the Connah’s Quay Memorial- that it be added to the names on the Hawarden Memorial.    On the proposition of Councillor W.S. BUTLER, seconded by Councillor J. WILLIAMS, it was resolved that this suggestion be adopted, and the Clerk was instructed to get in touch with Connah’s Quay Council.

 Page 254 Regular Meeting 8th November 1948 – Item 5 War Memorial  

A letter confirming that the late Roger BARTLEY had been recognized by the Connah’s Quay Welcome Home Fund was received from the Clerk to the Council and it was further stated that the question of inscribing names on the Connah’s Quay Memorial would be considered within the next few weeks.    It was resolved no further action be taken.

Pages 259/260  Regular Meeting  13th December 1948 – Item 4 War Memorial  

A letter from the Clerk to Connah’s Quay U.D.C. stated the Council’s letter of the 18th October, regarding the late Roger BARTLEY had been considered and the view expressed that the matter was a personal one from the relatives and that the name could be inscribed on both the Hawarden & Connah’s Quay Memorials.

A proposition by Councillor W.S. BUTLER that the name be inscribed on the Hawarden Memorial did not received a seconder, and it was agreed, on the proposition of Councillor V.R. BUTLER, seconded by Councillor W.H. JONES,  that a further letter be sent to Connah’s Quay U.D.C., asking for their assurance that the name was placed on their Memorial.

Page 265  Regular Meeting 17th January 1949 

A letter was received from the Clerk to Connah’s Quay U.D.C. stating that he would write further as soon as he had received instructions from his Council.

Page 269  Regular Meeting 21st February 1949 – Item 2 War Memorial 

Following a letter from the Connah’s Quay U.D.C. it was resolved that the name of the late Roger BARTLEY be inscribed on the Memorial.

The Clerk reported that the two new Tablets at the side of the Memorial, nearest to the bus stop, were being marked and defaced; this was caused by people, particularly children, leaning against the wall and drawing their heels down the stonework.    It was resolved that a letter be sent to the Headmaster of the schools in the district asking them to urge the children to respect the memorial.

Hawarden Council Minutes Book  – PC/28/9   From 11th April 1949 – Page 146 Regular Meeting 16th April 1952

Item 10 War Memorial Connahs’ Quay  

A letter was read from the Clerk to the Connah’s Quay U.D.C. informing the Council that it has now been decided to inscribe the names of the fallen in the 1939/45 War on a slab which is to be fixed on the steps fronting the Memorial. (Connah’s Quay)

After all this, Roger’s name was never included and added as promised onto the Connah’s Quay WW2 War Memorial in 1952, but is added as described on the Hawarden War Memorial (Side of the left hand corner facing Wall, looking out onto the Hawarden/Ewloe Road.)   (Left of 1st Tablet – WW2) 

Roger’s story, of course started many years before, he was the son of Roger & Mary Ellen Bartley (nee Peters), who had married in St. Mark’s Church, Connah’s Quay on the 24th August 1907.   Roger age 31 and an Engine man had lived at 6, Union Street, his father William Bartley was a Farm Bailiff, his bride, Mary Ellen, age 33, had lived at 32, Golftyn Street, her father John PETERS, was a Miner.

They are seen on the 1911 census  living at 6, Union Street, having been married for 3 years, Roger being a Railway Engine Stoker, both had been born in Mold, Flintshire.

As there are no Census returns after 1911 we do not know about young Roger’s early life except that he was born circa 1912, but we see his parents, Roger & Mary Ellen living at 6, Church Road, Connah’s Quay on the 1939 Register which was taken on the 29th September 1939, but Roger isn’t on it.  Although there is one redacted record, but I do not believe this to be him.   Roger senior had been born on the 22nd November 1875 and was a Locomotive Driver, Mary Ellen had been born on the 3rd October 1873 and Roger’s sister, I believe, had been born on the 6th December 1916.

If anyone can shed any light on Roger’s early life, I would be very grateful.

However we know that Roger married Gladys Ethel Jones, his wife who tried to get his name on the memorial, on the 5th October 1940 at St. Mark’s Church, Roger was a Building Society Manager, still at 6, Church Street, and his father Roger was a Locomotive Engineer, Gladys Ethel Jones, was 24 years old and lived at 49, Queen Street, Queensferry, her father William Francis Jones was a Commission Agent and they married by Licence.

It seems from a newspaper cutting from the Evening Despatch 31st August 1944 (Given to me by Brian MacLean form WW2 talk Forum) that Roger, before joining the Navy, was a cashier with the Co-operative Permanent Building Society and he had been a voluntary member of the N.F.S. (National Fire Service?) at Perry Barr before entering the Navy.   He had been awarded the D.S.M. “For gallant and distinguished service in special operations.”    This article states that he was from Birmingham, but I think it was because of the Perry Barr connection.   He must have lived there for a while to become part of the community I suppose, but I have no knowledge, again, if anyone can help, please get in touch, we need to make sure he is remembered.

Another article from the Liverpool Evening Express 01 September 1944, (Again given to me by Brian MacLean form WW2 talk Forum) tells of the D.S.M. and that he was an Able Seaman , son of Mr & Mrs Roger Bartley of Church Road, and this states that he had served on M.G.B’s for three years.  This information tells us that he may have enlisted in the Navy in 1940/41.

Before joining the Navy he played cricket for Connah’s Quay and was a member of the Hawarden Bridge hockey team.

As is said in the above newspaper cutting Roger had been with the Motor Gun Boats for three years and because I wanted to know what happened I contacted a Forum on WW2talk whose members have a wealth of information and they helped to build a picture of what might have happened to Roger:-

Many thanks to all at the WW2 Forum  –

– Timuk -1945, May 12 – Motor gun boat MGB No.2002 (93t, 5/7/43), sunk by mine on passage Aberdeen to Gothenburg, Sweden

MGB.2002, ship loss –  (Ref:

24 crew one of whom was BARTLEY, Roger, Able Seaman, C/JX 260016, MPK

Kevin Battle –  To add a little background… (from Wiki)

A series was of 8 boats was built for an order by Turkey, but confiscated by the Admiralty when War was declared. 5 boats were rebuilt as blockade-runners for the export of nickel ore from ports of Sweden and served under a merchant flag.

Only MGB502, 503 and 509 were completed as MGB’s.

One of the others was…

Gay Viking was a blockade runner of the British Merchant Navy. Originally under construction as a Motor Gun Boat, Gay Viking was one of eight vessels that were ordered by the Turkish Navy, but were requisitioned by the Royal Navy to serve with Coastal Forces during the Second World War. Originally intended to be HMMGB 506, the vessel was instead completed as a blockade runner for the Merchant Navy and named Gay Viking.

She operated out of Hull on two separate operations to the Scandinavian countries. She was one of the more successful of her group, but was lost in a collision while returning from one of these operations. Reports indicate that she may have been salvaged after this and gone on to sail for a considerable number of years as a civilian vessel. Gay Viking was built by Camper and Nicholson as part of an order of eight Motor Gun Boats placed by the Turkish Navy. The outbreak of the Second World War led to the Royal Navy taking over the eight vessels giving them numbers (502-509). The Navy then completed 504, 505, 506, 507 and 508 as merchant vessels to take part in Operation Bridford.

The objective of Operation Bridford was to bring back to Britain quantities of ball bearings manufactured by Sweden’s SKF. To do this, the vessels would have to reach Sweden by evading the German blockade of the Skagerrak. Once there, the vessels would load the ball bearings and return to Britain. British engineering plants needed the ball bearings, and other specialist equipment manufactured in Sweden and while some supplies were being flown in, the volumes were not sufficient to meet the demand.

The Navy modified five of the boats from Camper and Nicholson to accommodate cargo: most of the armament were removed, and the bridge moved aft, to make way for an internal cargo bay amidships. The need to conform to Sweden’s neutrality meant that the Navy also had to implement a number of other measures. First, it gave the boats names: 504 became Hopewell, 505 became Nonsuch, 506 became Gay Viking, 507 became Gay Corsair and 508 became Master Standfast. Second, they sailed under the red ensign of the merchant marine. Third, their crews consisted of civilian sailors drawn from Hull trawlermen and officers from Ellerman Lines.

Their mission required the vessels to pass between German-occupied territories in waters habitually patrolled by German aircraft and surface vessels. To minimise the risk of detection, the Navy timed the voyages to pass areas of greatest danger during the hours of darkness. This meant that the vessels could only make their journeys during the winter months when the duration of darkness was sufficient to give the ships the time they needed to traverse the patrolled areas.

This thread has a photo of MGB502, a nice looking vessel, perhaps they’d permit you having a copy or link to them?

MGB 502 – 509

The above reference to the shipment of ball bearings from Sweden may hint why MGB 502 was in Scandinavian waters. 12th May was just after VE Day on 8th May, so to strike a mine after Germany had been defeated is a very tragic case.

Many thanks to the forum and all who contributed, apologies for any that I have left out.

The Distinguished Service Medal (D.S.M.) was established on 14th October 1914, and is a Level 3 Gallantry Award for personnel of the Royal Navy and members of the other services, and Commonwealth countries, up to and including the rank of Chief Petty Officer.

The D.S.M. was awarded to Roger Bartley for bravery and resourcefulness on active service at sea and set an example of bravery and resource under fire, but without performing acts of such pre-eminent bravery as would render Roger Bartley eligible to receive the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal.

Roger Bartley would also be entitled to use the post-nominal letters D.S.M. after his name.

Awarded for Outstanding service in special and secret operations or Bravery & enterprise in raiding operations

Gazette Info: – Gazette Date: 15/08/1944 – Gazette Page: 3765

Motor Gun Boat – From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


The gravestone shows Roger being remembered and is among the names of Gladys and her sister Vera B. (nee Jones) and her husband Alec and Nephew Peter Hughes who died at the tragic age of 23 years.   Vera B. Jones and Alec Hughes had married in Portsmouth in 1940.

Learn more about the other soldiers on the Hawarden Memorial

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