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Charles Philip Oldfield Bartlett
DSC
Born (1889-01-03)January 3, 1889
Died March 1986
Place of birth Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset, England
Allegiance England
Service/branch Aviation
Rank Squadron Leader
Unit No. 5 Naval Squadron RNAS
Awards Distinguished Service Cross with Bar

Major Charles Philip Oldfield Bartlett DSC* (3 January 1889 – March 1986) was an English World War I flying ace credited with eight aerial victories in the course of flying bombing sorties against the Germans.

He remained in service after World War I, even though he struggled with health issues that threatened his forced resignation. He would serve until 1932, rising to the rank of Squadron Leader.

Personal life[edit | edit source]

Charles Philip Oldfield Bartlett was born on 3 January 1889 in Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset, England.[1] His son, Francis Nigel Oldfeld Bartlett, would eventually follow him into the military, serving as a Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Navy.[2]

After his World War I experiences, the elder Bartlett recorded his wartime experiences in the books Bomber Pilot, 1916-1918[3] and In the Teeth of the Wind: The Story of a Naval Pilot on the Western Front, 1916-1918.[4]

In his later years, C. P. O. Bartlett lived at Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England.[5] He died there in March 1986.[6]

World War I[edit | edit source]

Bartlett began military service in the Royal Naval Air Service during World War I. He first came to notice on 3 April 1916 when he was confirmed as a probationary Flight Sub-Lieutenant for temporary service.[7]

He went into combat in France as an Airco DH.4 bomber pilot in No. 5 Naval Squadron. He scored his first aerial victory on 2 July 1917. However, this was incidental to his main mission, as the citation for his Distinguished Service Cross makes clear.[8] When it was gazetted on 14 September 1917, it read:

For exceptionally good work on the occasion of a bombing raid on Houttave Aerodrome on the 25th July, 1917.[9]

Bartlett would not score again until 30 January 1918.[10] However, on 1 March 1918, he was promoted from temporary Flight Lieutenant to temporary Flight Commander.[11] In the latter part of March, Bartlett and his observer/gunner Walter Naylor would reel off a string of six more victories in the course of carrying out their bombing missions against the Germans. The string of triumphs was notable enough for specific mention in the second award of the DSC, represented by the award of a Bar. An account of the actions, as gazetted on 17 May 1918, credited him with causing the midair collision of two of his opponents:

For conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty in carrying out bombing raids and in attacking enemy aircraft.

On the 28th March, 1918, he carried out three bombing raids. Whilst returning from one of these missions he was attacked at a height of about 2,500 feet by three enemy triplanes, and five other scouts. One of these he drove down, attacking it with his front guns, whilst his observer shot down out of control a second. Observing that two of the triplanes were diving on him and converging, he side-slipped his machine away with the result that the two enemy machines collided and fell to the ground together, where they burst into flames.

He has carried out very many bombing raids, and brought down several enemy machines, invariably showing the greatest skill and determination.[12]

Subsequently, on 12 July 1918, after the RNAS had been merged into the Royal Air Force, Lieutenant Bartlett, already serving as a temporary captain, was promoted to act as temporary Major.[13]

Post World War I[edit | edit source]

Bartlett continued in Royal Air Force service after World War I, even though he constantly struggled with health problems. On 3 September 1919, he gave up his commission because of sickness, though he was entitled to retain his rank.[14]

However, this revocation of his commission must have been rescinded, because on 24 February 1922, he was restored to full pay from half pay.[15] Later that year, on 27 December 1922, he was once again invalided from the RAF with the honorary rank of Major.[16] A few days later, on 1 January 1923, his discharge for ill health was once again cancelled.[17]

He would continue to serve until 26 August 1932, when he retired as a Squadron Leader.[18]

Information about his later years is unavailable.

List of aerial victories[edit | edit source]

See also Aerial victory standards of World War I

No. Date/time Aircraft Foe Result Location Notes
1 2 July 1917 @ 1230 hours Airco DH.4 serial number N5967 Albatros D.V Driven down out of control Zeebrugge Observer/gunner: S. D. Sambrook
2 30 January 1918 @ 1330 hours Airco DH.4 s/n N6001 Albatros D.V Driven down out of control Engel Airfield Observer/gunner: Walter Naylor
3 18March 1918 @ 1102 hours Airco DH.4 s/n N5961 Albatros D.V Driven down out of control Beaurevoir Observer/gunner: Walter Naylor
4 21 March 1918 @ 1804 hours Airco DH.4 s/n N6000 Fokker Dr.I Triplane Driven down out of control Honnecourt-sur-Escaut Observer/gunner: Walter Naylor
5 27 March 1918 @ 1045 hours Airco DH.4 s/n N6000 Albatros D.V Driven down out of control Fontaine Observer/gunner: Walter Naylor
6 28 March 1918 about 1000 hours Airco DH.4 s/n N6000 Fokker Dr.I Triplane Destroyed Raincourt Observer/gunner: Walter Naylor
7 28 March 1918 about 1000 hours Airco DH.4 s/n N6000 Fokker Dr.I Triplane Destroyed Raincourt Observer/gunner: Walter Naylor
8 28 March 1918 about 1000 hours Airco DH.4 s/n N6000 Fokker Dr.I Triplane Destroyed Raincourt Observer/gunner: Walter Naylor[19]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. http://www.theaerodrome.com/aces/england/bartlett.php Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  2. Lundy, Darryl. "p. 30225". The Peerage. http://www.thepeerage.com/p30225.htm. Retrieved 20 October 2011. [unreliable source]
  3. http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2041704.C_P_O_Bartlett Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  4. http://www.marelibri.com/topic/22544-main/books/RELEVANCE/350 Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  5. Lundy, Darryl. "p. 30225". The Peerage. http://www.thepeerage.com/p30225.htm. Retrieved 20 October 2011. [unreliable source]
  6. http://www.theaerodrome.com/aces/england/bartlett.php Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  7. "No. 29730". 1 September 1916. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/29730/page/ 
  8. http://www.theaerodrome.com/aces/england/bartlett.php Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  9. "No. 30285". 14 September 1917. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/30285/supplement/ 
  10. http://www.theaerodrome.com/aces/england/bartlett.php Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  11. "No. 30571". 12 March 1918. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/30571/page/ 
  12. "No. 30687". 17 May 1918. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/30687/supplement/ 
  13. "No. 30793". 12 July 1918. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/30793/page/ 
  14. "No. 31554". 16 September 1919. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/31554/page/ 
  15. "No. 32631". 7 March 1922. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/32631/page/ 
  16. "No. 32780". 26 December 1922. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/32780/page/ 
  17. "No. 32787". 16 January 1923. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/32787/page/ 
  18. "No. 33859". 30 August 1932. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/33859/page/ 
  19. http://www.theaerodrome.com/aces/england/bartlett.php Retrieved 4 October 2011. Retrieved 2011.

Further reading[edit | edit source]

  • Bomber pilot, 1916-1918. Charles Philip Oldfeld Bartlett. Allan, 1974, ISBN unknown
  • In the Teeth of the Wind: The Story of a Naval Pilot on the Western Front, 1916-1918. Author: Charles Philip Oldfeld Bartlett. Editor: Nick Bartlett. Naval Institute Press, 1994. ISBN 1-55750-393-1, ISBN 978-1-55750-393-0.

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