Charles Henry Wilfred Bartrop (1887-1918) was born on 22 November 1887 in Worksop, Nottinghamshire and died in Belgium on 7 November 1918. A gifted footballer, Bartrop spent five seasons at Barnsley Football Club, winning the FA Cup, before moving to Liverpool in 1914. He initially worked as a collier during the First World War, before joining the Royal Field Artillery.
Born in the Nottinghamshire town of Worksop on 22 November 1887, Wilfred Bartrop was the first of 13 children raised by timber yard worker Benjamin Bartrop and his wife Annie.
Bartrop’s early life was much like any other working-class child during a period of great industrial growth, with his family moving a number of times as housing and sanitary reforms increased living standards in the Worksop area. It was during these early years that Bartrop first encountered the increasingly popular sport of association football and by the age of 20, he had joined local Midland League side Worksop Town.
Bartrop soon became an integral part of the Worksop team and began making a name for himself as a pacy and powerful outside right. These impressive displays soon attracted the attention of a number of professional clubs and it soon became apparent that Bartrop’s time at his hometown club would be short-lived. On 21 June 1909 the inevitable happened when Football League Second Division side Barnsley paid Worksop Town a fee, reported at the time to be ‘substantial’, to secure the services of their influential winger. Soon after, Bartrop moved to South Yorkshire to begin his career as a professional footballer.
Bartrop made his Barnsley debut on 4 September 1909 in an away match against Glossop and would go on to play 34 league games for the Yorkshiremen during his debut season in the second tier of English football. It was in the FA Cup that Bartrop found greatest success however, as he played every game during Barnsley’s glorious run to the Final. Pitted against First Division Newcastle United, Barnsley came with seven minutes of causing a major upset, only to see the favourites from the North-East level the score at 1-1 to send the tie to a replay.
There was to be no repeat of the earlier heroics when the teams met again five day slater however, and Barnsley went down 2-0 at Everton’s Goodison Park. Despite the disappointment, Barnsley were to make the FA Cup Final again two years later, this time to face another top flight side, West Bromwich Albion. Again, the tie went to a replay after the first match ended in stalemate. The Yorkshire side were determined to avoid defeat this time, however, and Henry Tufnell struck deep into extra time to secure Barnsley their first and only FA Cup triumph.
By the time Wilfred Bartrop left Barnsley in 1914, he had played 183 league and cup games and scored 17 goals for the club. His performances in both FA Cup runs had also been integral to Barnsley’s success and he continued to be held in the highest regard by their supporters long after leaving Oakwell.
Bartrop at Liverpool
After playing his final game for Barnsley in a 1-0 win at Hull City on 25 April 1914, Bartrop travelled to Merseyside to sign for Tom Watson’s Liverpool for a reported fee of £900. Despite arriving with huge expectations, Bartrop’s time at Anfield was largely frustrating as he struggled to dislodge preferred outside right Jackie Sheldon (who would later be banned following the notorious Good Friday match-fixing game against Manchester United) from the team. He had to wait until 19 December 1914 to make his debut, a 2-1 home loss against then-league leaders Oldham Athletic, and would play just two more games for Liverpool before the 1914/15 season drew to a close in April.
With professional football subsequently suspended until the end of hostilities, Bartrop took the decision to return to Nottinghamshire where he began vital war-work in the pit at Worksop’s Manton Colliery. During the next two and a half years, Bartrop was to also make a number of “guest” wartime appearances for local clubs – including one high-profile turnout for Notts County in a match against his former side Barnsley on 9 September 1916. By the start of 1918, Bartrop decided to leave his job at Manton Colliery and offer himself for army service.
First World War Service and Death
Gunner 252418 Bartrop joined the British Army in January 1918 and was posted to 40th Division’s X.40 Medium Trench Mortar Battery of the Royal Field Artillery (RFA). After undergoing training in the United Kingdom, Gnr Bartrop arrived in France on 13 June 1918 and went into action soon after near the French town of Cambrai.
Following further action at Bourlon Wood, X.40 TM battery rejoined 40th Division in October and moved to an area close to the Belgian villages of Warcoing and Pecq, where plans were being made for an assault on German lines across the River Escaut. Tasked with providing trench mortar support for the attacking infantry, Bartrop and his battery were in positions at Warcoing on 7 November when they came under heavy fire from enemy artillery. Unable to find adequate cover, Bartrop was severely wounded in the legs and chest during the bombardment and died soon after. He was 30-years-old.
The attack of 7 November proved to be 40th Division’s last day of offensive action as German forces withdrew from their positions across the River Escault the following day. Three days later, on 11 November 1918, the First World War ended. Bartrop was subsequently buried in Warcoing Churchyard and left a widow, Ruby, who he had married on 6 August 1912 – just 10 weeks after helping Barnsley to FA Cup glory.
COMPLETE CAREER STATISTICAL RECORD
|Season||Club||League Pos||FA Cup||League Games||League Goals||FA Cup Games||FA Cup Goals|
|1909/10||Barnsley||9th (Second Division)||F||34||2||9||2|
|1910/11||Barnsley||19th (Second Division)||R2||27||3||2||0|
|1911/12||Barnsley||6th (Second Division)||W||33||3||12||0|
|1912/13||Barnsley||4th (Second Division)||R2||32||3||1||0|
|1913/14||Barnsley||5th (Second Division)||R1||31||4||2||0|
|1914/15||Liverpool||13th (First Division)||R2||3||0||0||0|
A full list of sources used to create this page can be found here.