Richard Bartlett, The Salvation Army in Wickford

A number of people have commented on memories of a member of the Salvation Army, Richard Bartlett, in Wickford, who in the 1940s and early 50s used to walk around Wickford with his pet goose.

As a result we contacted the Salvation Army International Heritage Centre who have given the following reply.

“I have searched in our records and found information regarding a Brigadier Richard Bartlett who died in Wickford in 1953. It seems that this may be the Officer you are referring to; unfortunately we have no photographs of him”.  

Wickford is first mentioned as an outpost of Stock corps in 1893. In 1925 Wickford corps opened independently with its own hall. I attach an article from the Salvation Army newspaper ‘The War Cry’ (24 October 1925) regarding its opening. See below.

We are still interested in finding out more about Brigadier Bartlett.

If you have any information or photographs please contact the site.

Since the original article was written, Maurice Wakeham has provided us with more information about Richard Bartlett; it is reproduced here.  There are also more photographs, provided by Tom May.

I have found some old notes about Brigadier or Major Bartlett. Unfortunately I’m not sure where they came from. Perhaps others will be able to vouch for their accuracy or lack of it?  My notes say he was born in Guinea Pig Hall on June 1st 1859. He went to a private school in Rayleigh and rode there on horseback.  He was a drapery assistant for a while.  He joined the Salvation Army in 1884 and travelled the world.  He apparently drove geese from Wickford to Woodham, and pigs to Tilbury.  Why and when I don’t seem to have recorded.  He was married on April 9th, 1890 in Wakefield. His son, Jack, died in the First World War.  He retired back to Runwell in June 1923 where he was a Parish Councillor and School Manager. The famous sheepdog was called ‘Ben’ and was used to raise money for charity.  When Ben died Bartlett was given a black labrador called ‘Raff’ (or Ruff?).  The equally famous goose was called ‘Billy’. The Major/Brigadier was a popular character about town and known as Uncle Dick by the children.  As mentioned above, he died in 1953, followed by his wife in 1955, aged 92.

Wickford Salvation Army opened its new hall in 1925
1911. Brigadier(?) and Mrs Bartlett and Leaguers at Portsmouth
Tom May
1919. Major Richard Bartlett
Tom May
1919. Major Richard Bartlett
Tom May
Jack Bartlett, who died in World War 1
Tom May
The Bartletts in 1952
Tom May
The 'famous' goose (but not following its master)
Tom May
A Bartlett Christmas card of 1952
Tom May
1954. Mrs Bartlett
Tom May

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  • Don’t forget the Old English sheep dog that also walked with them, carrying collection panniers on its back.

    By BOBCROOT (17/09/2012)

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