yeovil at War

Augustus Bert Sartin

Killed in action during the Battle of Arleux

 

Augustus Bert Sartin, known as Gus, was born in Yeovil in 1897, the son of innkeeper Edward Colthrip Sartin (1861-1932) of the Globe Inn, Park Street and Annie née Ricketts (1863-1935). In the 1891 census Edward, now aged 29, was listed as the inn keeper of the Globe Inn where he was living with Annie and their children; Nellie M (b 1887), Lillie and Bessie. In all Edward and Annie had eight children, two of whom died, and the 1901 census records Edward L (b 1893), Harry E (b 1895), Francis Sidney (b 1897, killed in action 28 April 1917) and 3-year old Augustus. A new daughter, Kathleen (b 1903) appears in the 1911 census in which in which 13-year old Augustus was listed as a scholar. After leaving school he worked for Hawkins, Jesty & Ricketts in the leather dressing yard at Dodham. Edward was licensee of the Globe Inn until at least 1919, a tenancy of at least 28 years. Edward died in June 1932 and Annie died in December 1935.

Gus enlisted at Yeovil in early 1916, joining as a Trooper of the 1st Life Guards (Service No 4333). He was sent to France in the late spring of 1916.

The regiment was heavily involved in the Arras Offensive (April 1917). At other times, it took its turn in holding various sections of the front line trenches, and at other times prepared to exploit breakthroughs in battle, but opportunities rarely presented themselves.

On 10 March 1918, 1st Life Guards was detached from 7th Cavalry Brigade, with which it had served from August 1914. It was formally dismounted, and converted into the No 1 (1st Life Guards) Battalion of the Guards Machine Gun Regiment.

It was while this unit was being trained at the great base camp at Etaples that it was hit by an enemy air raid – a very frequent occurrence in the densely populated coastal area behind the front – on 19 May 1918. The raid lasted from 10.30pm to 1am on 20 May. Shortly before midnight, two bombs fell on the Life Guards camp. No fewer than 42 men were killed, and 83 wounded, in this incident. Sadly Gus was one of those wounded during the bombing attack and died from his wounds on 2 June 1918. He was aged 20.

On 3 June 1918 the Western Gazette reported "The death is announced of Trooper “Gus” Sartin, Life Guards, in a bombing raid in France. He was the youngest son of Mr E Sartin, of South Street, Yeovil, who has already lost one son in the war and has two others serving. Before joining up, Trooper Sartin was employed in the dressing yard of Messrs. Hawkins, Jesty and Ricketts."

Gus Sartin was interred at Etaples Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France, (Grave LXV.E.28) and his name is recorded on the War Memorial in the Borough.

 

gallery

 

Gus' Army Roll Card.

 

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission certificate in memory of Gus Sartin.

 

WAAC [Women's Army Auxiliary Corps] gardeners tending the graves of the war dead at Etaples. The wooden crosses would later be replaced by white headstones.

 

Etaples Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.

During the First World War, the area around Etaples was the scene of immense concentrations of Commonwealth reinforcement camps and hospitals. It was remote from attack, except from aircraft, and accessible by railway from both the northern or the southern battlefields. In 1917, 100,000 troops were camped among the sand dunes and the hospitals, which included eleven general, one stationary, four Red Cross hospitals and a convalescent depot, could deal with 22,000 wounded or sick. In September 1919, ten months after the Armistice, three hospitals and the Q.M.A.A.C. convalescent depot remained. The cemetery contains 10,771 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, the earliest dating from May 1915. 35 of these burials are unidentified. The cemetery, the largest Commission cemetery in France, was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.