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News > Remembering OV > Major Anthony John Bartholomew 1928 - 2021

Major Anthony John Bartholomew 1928 - 2021

Major Anthony John Bartholomew was a proud life member of the Old Veseyan Association. He passed away on 15th July 2021 in Crete where he lived part-time.

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As well as the obligatory business of education, Tony’s memories of school included potato picking — torture inflicted on schoolboys by sadistic tractor drivers - and postal work at Christmas time with its financial rewards. He joined the Cadet Corps – plus-twos and puttees – which later became the Junior Training Corps — battledress and anklets. He also enlisted in the 6th Battalion R. Warwickshire Home Guard and served at Battalion Headquarters, which was conveniently sited next door to the Three Tuns. A great deal of time, which should have been allocated to revision for School Certificate, was spent on all night duties and weekend training.

Some contemporaries may remember that Tony, Nigel (Tich) Cooper and Michael (Bill) Wild owned three ex WD 350cc Royal Enfield motorcycles. With Colonel Archie Hollis’s concurrence plus extra petrol coupons a course in the art of motorcycle riding took place round the perimeter of Bottom Field. The cricket nets were sited on the south edge of the field with, behind them, a few ARP trenches, which by 1944 were somewhat degraded. Tony often spoke of the time when he watched a cadet ride through the nets and finish up in one of the trenches. Luckily there was no damage to the unfortunate rider, the nets or the bike.

After the publication of Tony’s dismal Higher School Cert results, Archie suggested that Tony could apply for a scheme, just introduced by the War Office, to consider school leavers for Regular Army Commissions. Tony agreed and Archie went ahead and organised the paperwork. A snag was the Civil Service Commissioners Exam but with Archie’s encouragement and some additional tuition in maths from Mr ‘Nunc’ Henry, Tony passed with flying colours. After attending the three days Regular Commissions Board he was accepted as an entrant to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He was first required to do at least six months training as an infantry soldier. One of his fellow recruits in the same training unit was Jim Slater.

Tony along with Geoff Pearce 1940-1947 was among the first group of Grammar School boys to attend the RMA.  He was commissioned into the Sherwood Foresters in 1949 and posted to the 1“ Battalion stationed near Goslar, Germany. Eighteen months later he was commanding a platoon of the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers in Korea. Thereafter he had several postings including three very interesting years in Sierra Leone.

He left the Army in 1961 but rejoined eighteen months later. During this time he met Valerie and they were married. Thereafter there were postings to various jobs and different countries including operational tours in Cyprus and Northern Ireland. He was a qualified Rugby referee and attended the annual weekend conferences run by the Army Rugby Union Referees Society at which Jim Lewis 1934-1939 was the welcomed and much respected principal speaker.

On retirement from the Army in 1983 he established and took up the post of Head of Home at the Cotswold Cheshire Home in Cheltenham. Later he and Valerie moved to Cornwall where Tony spent two years attending evening classes at college. He gained his City and Guilds as a tutor in Adult and Further Education and spent a few years running his own course in Accountancy.

Nigel Cooper and Tony had a great friendship which went back to the days when they combined their gauge ’0’ Hornby electric train sets and established a layout in the spare bedroom at the Bartholomew home. They counted it a great joke that whereas Tony had served for seven years and was still a lieutenant, Nigel had taken just eighteen months to become a major. Nigel delighted in telling of the time when Tony visited him at his headquarters in Southampton. Evidently one of Nigel’s senior colleagues later remonstrated with him that it was not done for a major to chat with a junior officer. Nigel would recount, with that lovely cheeky smile of his, that he had replied "Ah yes but he is a real solider".

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