Born at Para, Marlborough 14 February 1891 (between Koromiko and Tua Marina).
Having returned to the family stronghold of Brightwater, Hartley works for his father on the family orchard and a farm in Aniseed Valley. In lieu of wages, his father buys him a farm in Murchison.
As a Territorial Sergeant Hartley volunteers for service as soon as war is declared. “I hurried home to pack my military gear and catch a train leaving at 8am the following morning for Nelson headquarters.”
In October Hartley departs Nelson for the Addington Camp. He is attached to the No. 9 Platoon under the Company command of Colonel Cyprian Brereton.
He is in the first draft of men leaving New Zealand for the war on 16 October. Having made it to Port Said in Egypt, the troops are transported to the outskirts of Cairo and set up camp in the desert.
In February Hartley’s platoon receives orders to move to Ismalia, Egypt, where the Turks are marching on the Suez Canal and is part of the battle that ensues.
After the Turks retreat the allied troops receive orders to go to the Dardanelles. Hartley’s ship, Itonis, leaves at daylight. “We made for Anzac Cove, where a battle was raging and on arriving there, boats were lowered, packed with men and pulled ashore. We stepped onto a beach strewn with dead and wounded men. Our company took up a position to prevent the enemy getting around our men who were on top of a hill: bullets and shellfire were raining down on us.” Hartley is mistakenly reported killed in action after his number is put to the name of Hector Volca Palmer and his family is informed. They hold a memorial service for him in Brightwater.
In August Hartley is sent from Gallipoli to Lemnos suffering enteric fever and is eventually sent to England to convalesce. There he is also found to be suffering a weak heart. While on leave Hartley discovers he has been reported dead and immediately cables his family to advise them he is alive.
Hartley spends much of this year convalescing from enteric fever.
When his furlough was over he reported to a convalescent hospital in Hornchurch and was posted to the enteric ward “with instructions that no enteric patients were to return to the trenches for six months”.
As he was still receiving medical treatment he was sent to Sling Camp in Salisbury, where he sorted mail and was batman to an officer. He stayed at the camp for several months until a general medical examination in 1916 classified him as ‘general disability’ and he was listed to return to New Zealand.
In March Hartley boarded the Marama. When the ship reached Wellington a large crowd, including Hartley’s mother and sister Floss, was waiting. Hartley is discharged from the army the same day and returns to Brightwater with a six month invalid pension.
Hartley works as a builder in Brightwater and sells his Murchison property. He marries Annie Eden and takes over his father’s farm at Brightwater.
1965: Hartley joins other veterans at Gallipoli to mark the 50th anniversary of the Allied landings. Later that year Annie dies. Sometime later Hartley marries Ruby and writes a book about his life entitled The Trail I Followed.
13 May 1987 Hartley dies in Nelson aged 96, proud of never having missed an Anzac Day service since his return from Gallipoli.