News from 1934 Capt Bartlett visits New Zealand

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Mark Baber

The Evening Post, Wellington, 5 January 1934
Retrieved from the National Library of New Zealand web site,


Surprise at the growth of Wellington since his last visit to New Zealand 28
years ago as commander of the Gothic was expressed by Commodore C. A.
Bartlett, C.B., C.B.E., late R.N.R., and a former marine superintendent to
the White Star and associated lines, who is a round-voyage passenger on the
Mataroa, which arrived from England last night. He has had a long and
interesting career afloat, and on the present trip he is looking forward to
visiting ports he knew as an officer and captain.

Commodore Bartlett first came out to New Zealand in the White Star liner
Doric in the nineties. The Doric, he told a "Post" reporter, was the
flagship for the regatta held each year at Lyttelton. Wellington in those
days was very small. Although he had not been ashore to have a look round,
he had been impressed from the decks of the Mataroa with the greatly
increased area now covered by houses and the number of concrete buildings.
Commodore Bartlett said there would be New Zealanders who remembered Captain
Kidley, of the Gothic. He served under him from 1896 to 1900, and
eventually relieved him as captain.

When Commodore Bartlett severed his active connection with the White Star
Line on December 31, 1931, he had completed twenty years as marine
superintendent, which, it is believed, is a record. It is recorded of the
commodore in one publication that during this period he continually
endeavoured to further the interests of the officers and men of the merchant

Commodore Bartlett is one of the ever-dwindling band of sailors who served
their time in sail. After six years in the clipper ships of D. Bruce and
Co., Dundee, he spent the following six years with the British India
Company, and in 1894 joined the White Star Line, with which he continued for
thirty-seven years. In 1903 he obtained his first command, and from then
until 1912 at different times he had charge of a number of the more
important White Star North Atlantic ships. In 1912 he was appointed marine

As an active member of the R.N.R. Commodore Bartlett saw service during the
Great War from November, 1914, to December, 1915, on patrol work in the
North Sea, and from December, 1915, to the following November in command of
H.M. hospital ship Britannic. When this vessel, which was one of the best
equipped hospital ships in service during the war period, met her end by
torpedo in 1916 in the Aegean Sea, the Commodore narrowly escaped losing his
life, being picked up out of the water after his command had taken her last
dive. During the war he lost his only son, a midshipman, serving in
H.M.S. Goliath, when that vessel was sunk in the Dardanelles in 1915.

Commodore Bartlett had the distinction of being an A.D.C. to his Majesty the
King from 1919 to 1921. He was one of the founders of the Honourable Company
of Master Mariners, and is now one of the wardens of the company. The Royal
Naval Reserve has also always had his strongest support.


Mark Baber

The Evening Post, Wellington, 5 February 1934
Retrieved from the National Library of New Zealand web site,


Aircraft, not ships, would be the passenger liners of the future, said
Commodore C. A. Bartlett, formerly marine superintendent of the White Star
Line, and Marine Warden of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners, at a
social evening given in his honour on Saturday evening by the New Zealand
Company of Master Mariners.

Commodore Bartlett, who is on a world tour after his long period of service
with the White Star Line, said he believed that the passenger liner, as it
was known today, would be superseded by air transport. "I say that myself,
although I would hate to see it," he continued. New Zealanders would have to
become air-minded like the people of other countries. In America there were
many air-lines, and people were dropping the trains in favour of air
transport. In England one could.see air-liners leaving Croydon every week
carrying passengers to other parts of the Empie. [Sic.] The sea would never
give up its freighters. Ships might be used to some extent for cruises, but
they would never be the passenger liners of the future. Great freighters
would speed from the overseas Dominions, but he did not see how the.liner as
it was today could live.

Referring to the growing importance of air defence, Commodore Bartlett
maintained that boys being trained for the merchant service should be given
some idea of navigating aircraft.


Before he left England, Commodore Bartlett said, he had met Sir Bertram
Chadwick, deputy master of the Honourable Company, who had asked him to
convey greetings to the New Zealand Company. He himself had been one of the
Originators of the Honourable Company, having been present when a number of
"old salts" met after a British shipmasters' dinner in Liverpool. In 1926
the King granted the organisation a Royal Charter, and in 1932 the company
was granted the livery of the City of London. It was the only company
outside the Honourable Artillery Company that was entitled to the prefix
"'honourable," a fact that spoke for itself.

Captain S. Holm, who presided in the absence of the president, Sir Charles
Statham, proposed the toasts, "The King" and "The Prince of Wales," and
referred to the latter's position as head of the Honourable Company of
Master Mariners. Mr. Boardman sang "God Bless the Pince [sic] of
Wales," the chorus being taken up enthusiastically by the gathering.

In proposing the toast "Parliament," Captain J. F. Gill referred to the
question of sending New Zealand boys to sea, saying that there were hundreds
of lads suitable for the sea and for whom there were no opportunities. He
hoped that when the question arose in Parliament it would be settled

Mr. H. Atmore, M.P., replied to the toast, giving an outline of the problems
facing the Parliaments of the world, and dealing with present-day economic
and monetary difficulties.


Captain W. Stuart proposed the toast "The Honourable Company of Master
Mariners." He mentioned the events leading up to the formation of the
company and said that its present distinguished position was a wonderful
tribute to the esteem in which the master manners of England were held. The
objects of the company were to look after three generations, firstly, men of
the older generation who had fallen by the wayside through sickness and
other causes; secondly, the present generation of masters, who were advised
in all matters pertaining to their profession and whose pension schemes were
studied by the company; and, thirdly, the younger generation, on whose
behalf the company investigated training and other matters. Outside
benefactors had assisted the company very materially. In New Zealand not
much was heard of the organisation, said Captain Stuart, but he felt sure
that in it the British Government had a great asset to which it could turn
and use the best brains in the land.


On the question of shipping subsidies Captain Stuart said that with the
exception of Great Britain the world was now living practically on
subsidised shipping. The time was overdue when British shipping would be
assisted in the same way. In that connection he believed that the company
was going to perform yeoman service in seeing that the Red Ensign was kept
flying in every part of the world.

Other toasts were: "Absent Members," proposed by Captain F. H. Edge; "The
Visitors," proposed by Captain F. A. Macindoo; and "The Press," proposed by
Captain A. Gibson.

Sea shanties and other items were given by Captains P. S. Peterson, Gray,
and G. Knowles, and Messrs. Boardman and B. W. Millier. Mr. Sawyer was the

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