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Cyril Bartlett - his early years

The smell of baking biscuits pervaded the town of Reading and Cyril George Bartlett would have grown up with that lovely aroma. He was born at 38 Coventry Road, an area within walking distance of Huntley & Palmers and his father was a biscuit baker in their factory. The factory, along with those of Simonds Brewery and Pulsometer Engineering, were major employers in the town and Bartletts were connected with all three companies.

George Bartlett and his wife, Ellen, nee Murray, had five children:
  • Miriam
  • Edith
  • Cyril
  • Ernest and
  • Harold
They all lived in Coventry Road for a number of years but by the time Cyril was fourteen, the family had moved to 8 Freshwater Road, Reading and Cyril was an Apprentice Stationer.

We think the portrait photograph shown on the right was taken just before Cyril went away to war, when he was just 17.

Before he left for France, Cyril and Jessica Kate Green had met at a fair in Kings Meadows, Reading and were evidently attracted to one another

This was a time when young people of their class had few options of employment or advancement. Cyril's two sisters, aged fifteen and seventeen were in domestic service, as was Jessie.
Cyril Bartlett, W H Smith Roll of Honour W H Smith Roll of Honour
(click to see the full list)
At fourteen, Cyril was apprenticed to the stationers W H Smith. Furthermore, thanks to some research by Mr C S Rule, the archivist of W H Smith, we now know that he was still working for them; at 39 Broad Street, Reading; at the time he enlisted and his name appears on their Roll of Honour as a result.