Tom Cecil Hartley
Staff Sergeant (Armourer), Royal Army Ordnance Corps
Tom Cecil Hartley was born on December 12th 1885 at Norwood Road, Herne Hill and was a student at Alleyn’s from January 1896 until July 1901. After leaving school, he found work as the apprentice of a mechanical engineer at Vickers, Sons & Maxim Ltd and by September 1901, he had qualified as a trained mechanical engineer - a role that would later serve him well in his Army career.
When the First World War broke out in August 1914, Tom enlisted immediately, joining the Royal Army Ordnance Corps who were responsible for supplying weapons, ammunition and equipment to the Army. He was attached to 16th Lancashire Fusiliers and went to France on November 21st 1915. After arriving, he was attached to the 32nd Division to carry out his duty and after proving himself to be a courageous and natural leader he was promoted to Armourer Staff Sergeant. He continued to serve at the front with this rank until March 22nd 1918 when he was wounded in battle after the launch of the German Spring Offensive. Tom returned to the front in April after recovering from his wounds but he was later injured in action again on April 15th 1918. He was taken to casualty clearing station at Proven but later died from his injuries. He was known to his men as a capable and reliable soldier and is buried at Medinghem Military Cemetery.