Bertram was born on 12 August 1888 in Wolverhampton, the youngest child of William Burgess and Ellen Hill Callear. Bertram’s middle name Callear came to be spelt many different ways! Bertram grew up in 9 Tower Street, Wolverhampton. William, his father, was described as a coal dealer, and more often as a carter. On the 1911 census he was a carter working on his own account and Bertram was also a carter, presumably working with his father. Bertram had a sister, Mary Elizabeth, born 1884 (ruler at a printer’s in 1901), and a brother, William, born 1886 who was a railway clerk on the 1901 census. Another sister, Mabel Fanny, was born in, and died in 1883. Bertram was the only child living with William and Ellen in 1911.
Ellen Hill Burgess had become a member of Queen Street Congregational Church in 1900. Bertram appears on the Church’s 1914-15 roll of honour. He enlisted very early, on 9 August 1914, in the 1/7th Battalion of South Staffordshire Regiment (Regimental number 10183). This was a Kitchener’s battalion formed in Lichfield at the outbreak of war. On 21 July 1915 he was sent to Gallipoli. At some point he had been appointed a Corporal. He appeared on the Daily List of 4 September 1915 as one of the wounded. Sadly the effect of a gun shot wound to his left arm had been severe and it had to amputated. He was discharged on 19 May 1916 and was given a pension and a Silver War Badge
Bertram moved to Aston. His pension card has the address 3/32 Upper Thomas Street. In 1918 he married Louisa M Harding and they had two sons and two daughters. By 1939 they had moved to 85 Shortheath Road, Erdington, probably part of the new post WW1 housing. His occupation on the 1939 National Register is difficult to read but could be commissionaire. This was a job frequently carried out by disabled ex-servicemen. Bertram died at the same address on 7 October 1962 and after probate left an estate of £3835 13s.
The research for this blog post was completed by volunteer Susan Martin.