Private 10399 T Achilles, from Pelaw on Tyne, has a medal index card with the date 3 June 1919 stamped on it and no further information, other than that her served with 11 DLI. Thomas Achillis is listed with the DLI at the Hyderabad Barracks in Colchester in the 1911 Census, aged 21 and born in Tottenham, London. The card actually indicates that he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal while serving with 11 DLI. His main medal index card indicates that he first went to France on 21 May 1915, which would have been with 10th Battalion DLI.
The citation for the DCM (11 March 1920) reads: ‘He has served continuously from 21 May 1915. On several occasions, notably at Guedecourt 16 September 1916 and near Wancourt 11 April 1917, he displayed great gallantry in obtaining and carrying stretchers or bandaging wounded under heavy shell or machine-gun fire. At Guedecourt, though wounded, he pluckily continued at duty until his battalion had been relieved.’ These specific notices relate to service with 10 DLI.
Private 21491, died aged 23 on 10 November 1915. He was killed, along with several comrades, when a shell hit the Company billets at Épinette [probably a small hamlet or farmhouse between Estaires and Sailly-sur-la-Lys]. Buried at Aubers Ridge British Cemetery. Born late summer 1893 [GRO Selby 9c 886, Jul-Sep 1893]. The son of Lewis and Mary Acomb of 16 Field Road, Ramsey, Hunts. Originally from Cawood, near Selby in Yorkshire. In 1901 the family lived at Rythergate, Cawood, where the father was a plumber and gasfitter, originally from Leeds. The mother was originally from Billinghay in Lincolnshire. At that time, there were five boys (Claude N 15, Harry 12, John 7, Richard 5 and Rufus 2) and two girls (Catherine 13 and Vinette 10). They were still in Cawood in 1911. There is evidence that John Acomb first enlisted in the Huntingdonshire Cyclists Battalion, but was transferred to 11th DLI, joining them in France on 4 August 1915. Amongst his brothers, the medal index card records suggest that Claude N Acomb became a Sergeant 13727 in the West Yorkshire Regiment, embarking for France on 26 August 1915 and being demobilised to Class Z Reserve at the end of the war. Harry may be Pte 6150 H. Acomb of the Coldstream Guards who embarked as a regular soldier, 12 August 1914, was wounded (Silver War Badge) and transferred, 13 December 1917, to the Military Foot Police with regimental number 13609. Richard was a driver 39742 with the Royal Field Artillery, embarking 30 August 1915, was also wounded and later discharged. Rufus may have been too young to serve.
Ainley, Allen: Private 81885 (previously 35761, West Riding Regiment)
Allen Ainley was a textile spinner from Batley. He attested as a conscript at Dewsbury 18 June 1917 aged 18 yrs and 1 month and professed an interest in the Royal Field Artillery [a slightly older namesake, also from Batley, was a driver with the RFA]. He was 5ft 4¼in, 34½in chest, and his next of kin was his mother Sarah Ainley of 30 Whitaker Street, Batley. He was born in 1899 [GRO Dewsbury 9 b 646, Apr-Jun].
He was called up to the training reserve on 18 August 1917 before being posted on 1 December to the West Riding Regiment. He went overseas to the Base Depot on 1 April 1918, was assigned to 11 DLI, which he joined on 4 April, another young recruit for the badly depleted battalion. He was killed in action on 18 August 1918 and is buried at the Sucrerie Cemetery, Ablain-St Nazaire.
Allen’s family were his father Frank, Mother Sarah and 2 brothers [Sam, Raymond] and 3 sisters [Emily, Eva and Elsie]. All but Sam were younger than Allen. In 1901 Frank 25, a cobbler, and Sarah 28, cloth weaver, lived with their two sons, Samuel (5) and Allen (1), at 6 Brown Place, off Brown Street, Batley.
The personal effects returned to his mother comprised: wallet, testament, diary, small card box, photos, card and letters. She commented on the receipt form: “I though I should have received more as his officer said I should receive his personel kit. Thanking you for the same. Mrs Sarah Ainley” [spelling as per original].
Allen’s father also wrote to the War Office requesting further information as to his son’s fate.
Can you supply me with my Late son’s Record. I want to know when he joined his regement. His number 8184 Durham Light Infantry 11th Batt. I have his record when he was Killed. But I have to supply the Ministry of Pensions with the Information what Date he joined his regement And I cant find no Record of it his name was Allen Ainley.
Yours sincerely, F. Ainley” [spelling and details as per original]
[Copies of letter from father and note from mother from surviving Service Records at the National Archives and accessible on Ancestry]
Private 17554, died of wounds 28 March 1918. From Seaton Delaval. Buried in St Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen.
In 1901, William was the six-year old son of James Amour, aged 44, master stonemason working underground at the Seghill pit, Seaton Delaval, Northumberland, and his wife Sarah. There were seven children: James (16), Charlton (14), Ann (23), John (8), Richard (12), William (6) and Margaret (3). The family had moved around, the parents coming from Benton and Gateshead respectively, and the children being born either in Earsdon or Seghill. William was born in Seghill. They lived at 49 Double Row, Seghill. The two eldest sons were coal miner drivers, both working underground, so it seems likely that William was bound for pit work when he got older.
At the time of his enlistment in Newcastle in August 1914, William was indeed a ‘putter’, aged 19 years and 345 days. We know nothing more, as only one page of his service papers seems to have survived. He was born towards the end of 1894 (GRO Ref: Tynemouth 10 b 264, Oct-Dec 1894).
His medal index card indicates that he went out with 11 DLI on 20 July 1915 and therefore had trained with them, and probably stayed with them at the rank of Private until his death in 1918. As he died in the hospital at Rouen, where he was buried, it is likely that he was wounded at some point during the preceding days up to 27 March 1918 and was carried back to Rouen for treatment.
To find out further information it would be necessary to trace the specific hospital within which William was treated, or the Casualty Clearing Station through which he most likely passed, for the period 25-27 March 1918. The registers for these establishments might contain useful references.
Private 43746, died of wounds 29 March 1918 aged 20, buried at Namps-au-val British Cemetery.
Anderson was 18 yrs and 11 months when he attested at Richmond, N Yorks, on 2 December 1915. He was transferred to the Reserve and called up on 24 June 1916. He was 5ft 6in with a 34in chest and by trade a chauffeur, living in Gilling West. He gave his grandmother, Jane Anderson, as his next of kin.
Anderson trained from June 1916 to 30 December 1916 and on arrival at Étaples on 19 January 1917 was assigned to 19 DLI. He was admitted to 107 FA on 25 March 1917 suffering from dysentery. He was sent on to 38 CCS and by 15 May 1917 was at 25 Stationary Hospital, from where he was sent back to England aboard the Hospital Ship Essequimbo, and on to Addington Park War Hospital, where he stayed until 16 June 1917. The case was clearly extreme, as he was then despatched to convalescence at the Dysentery Depot at Barton on Sea, New Milton until 6 July 1917. He remained in the UK until 31 August 1917, when he was sent back to France and moved around various units including both 11 and 14 DLI before finally remaining with 11 DLI from 6 February 1918. He was caught up in the March Retreat, receiving a gun shot wound to the left thigh from which he died at 55 CCS on 29 March 1918.
Following the war correspondence ensued between the army and Mrs Anne Nelson, his aunt. The material in the records is rather faint, but seems to indicate that his parents had died when he was a child and he had been brought up by relatives. His grandmother must have died since his enlistment and Mrs Nelson was then designated next of kin. His will dated 15 January 1918 had left his personal property to her at Gilling West.
Further information about what happened to him may be traced in the records of 55 CCS [WO95/501], and he may also be recorded on the war memorial at Gilling West.
Angel, John William
Private 14945, missing in action 24 March 1918, commemorated on the Pozières Memorial.
Angel was born in Seaton Carew and enlisted at West Hartlepool on 3 September 1914. He was 19 yrs 86 days old and a labourer (machinist), 5ft 7 in 127 lbs, 34 in chest, slightly short sighted. He was Roman Catholic. He was despatched to the Depot at Newcastle next day and on 17 September 1914 was posted to 13 DLI. His conduct sheet was almost clean, except on 11 June 1915 at Longmoor Camp he was absent from midnight until 7 am ,12th June, was docked two days pay, commuted to one day’s pay. He had previously suffered a bout of pneumonia serious enough to put him in the Connaught Hospital from 12 Nov 1914 to 4 March 1915. He made an allotment of pay to his mother, Mary Angel.
On overseas service on 24 June 1916 he was charged with ‘refusing to carry government property’ and deprived of 10 days pay. He was wounded in the face a few weeks later and on 23 July 1916 was sent back to England from No 12 General Hospital, Rouen, on the casualty ship Lanfranc. After recovering he was attached to 3 DLI Training Battalion from 14 October before being sent to 2 DLI on 11 November 1916. He was sent back to the UK from 24 January 1917 to 2 March 1917 for treatment at the Brighton Grove Military Hospital, Newcastle on Tyne, suffering from syphilis. He was attached to 3 DLI before being sent to IBD Étaples on 15 May 1917 and then allocated to 18 DLI, arriving with them on 17 May. He was transferred to 14 DLI on 2 June 1917 arriving the next day, but when that battalion was wound up, he was transferred on 6 February 1918 to 11 DLI.
He was reported missing 24 March 1918, struck off the roll on 26 June 1918, there being no news. The War Office wrote to the family on 20 September 1918 to see if they had heard anything further. It was not until 24 January 1919 that confirmation was received from a German list with his disc, that he was dead, death presumed to be the day he went missing.
The scroll and other material were sent to Mr Edmund Angel, his father, at 39 Florence Street, West Hartlepool. He had three brothers (Edward, George and Robert) and two sisters (Mary Ann and Jane Rachel). In 1901 the family were living at the same address, and the father was a puddler in a local steel works.
During the administrative processes in 1922, there was correspondence between the War Office and the Imperial War Graves Commission to clear up any potential mix up with the records of 19401, James Henry Angel of 2 DLI, died of wounds 7 June 1917, but this does not seem to have caused any problems for the family.
Sergeant 17176, former joiner, attested Darlington 31 August 1914, completing medical 2 September 1914, aged 23 years and 90 days. He had a dark complexion, blue eyes and dark brown hair; stood 5 ft 8½ inches, weighed 159 lbs and had a 38½ in chest. He was Church of England. At the time of enlistment he was unmarried, but before going overseas, he married Eleanor Morrison at All Saints Church, Hurworth on 30 June 1915, in front of Arthur Faber (rector) and two witnesses, George B Goldsborough and Jane Elizabeth Cowley [see GRO Ref Darlington 10 a 70, Apr-Jun 1915]. They had a daughter, Nora, born in Morpeth 20 January 1916 [see GRO Ref Morpeth 10 b 773, Jan-Mar 1916].
Appleby was appointed Lance Corporal with 11 DLI on 2 October 1914 and Corporal on 14 October. By 7 December he was appointed acting Lance Sergeant and had the role of regimental assistant gym instructor. He had a clean conduct record during training. He joined the battalion overseas on 21 July 1915, still substantively Corporal. He became Acting Sergeant on 23 October 1915 and was made up to full Sergeant with effect from 6 February 1916. While serving with the battalion at this rank with C Company he was severely reprimanded on 2 December 1916, by Major Hayes, for neglect of duty. He had one bout of illness, with influenza and was away from the unit from 27 May to 1 June 1916.
With effect from 10 July 1917 he was transferred to the Royal Engineers with the rank of Sapper, to serve with 11 Forestry Company. He was tested at Menesqueville and classed proficient as sawyer. Two days later he was made up to Acting CSM and gradually progressed to skilled (11 March 1918) and superior proficiency (15 November 1918) serving mainly with 371 Forestry Company. He was demobilised on 31 March 1919 at Clipstone, returning to his home at 18 Vaughan Terrace, Neasham Road, Darlington.
His grandson, William Appleby, has suggested that he is featured in a photograph in K. W. Mitchinson’s book on Pioneer Battalions, depicting the battalion concert party at Picquigny, and that he appears in the back row, second from the right. He is also reputed to be in the photograph of 9 Platoon from Xmas 1914, first on the left (with swords on the collar indicating his role as a gym instructor at Aldershot). He also believes that he was wounded before transfer to the RE, though this is not clear from the service records and medal index cards. He survived the war and was made a Lieutenant in the Home Guard in Darlington in the Second World War. [Information from message 1 May 2006, Great War Forum].
His brother was Lt John Gill Appleby, 8 South Lancashire Regiment, who was killed at Ovillers 13-14 July 1916, and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. He was the 30-year old son of James and Isabel Appleby of The Green, Hurworth, near Darlington.
At the time of the 1911 Census, Arthur was aged 19 and still living with his parents in a cottage on Church Row, Hurworth. The family have not been traced in the 1901 census returns.
Applegarth, Thomas William
[TNA Reference WO 339/81426, Correspondence and service papers]
In 1891 Applegarth’s father and mother had only recently married (early 1890, Hannah was born Robson) and were living at Piercebridge, where Thomas Applegarth was a threshing machine driver. By 1901 he was described as a Threshing Machine Owner and the family had two children, Thomas William aged 7 and Cicely Ann aged 2. They had a live-in servant, Lizzie Walton aged 16.
Born 18 September 1893 Piercebridge, his father Thomas Applegarth was a thrashing machine owner. He was educated at Darlington Grammar School and Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He did not sign up immediately on the outbreak of war and when he did enlist it was not immediately as an officer, despite his educational background.
Applegarth originally served as a driver in the Army Service Corps. He joined them 3 February 1916 at Park Royale, having enlisted 11 January 1916 at Bishop Auckland and being originally assigned to 431 Company ASC Horse Transport. From 3-16 July he was admitted to hospital at Clipstone Camp with synovitis of the knee, when serving with 212 Company ASC, Clipstone Park, Notts. He was serving with 878 Company Woolwich Dockyard as Driver T4/088917 when he applied for a commission.
Age 24 years and 2 months, Applegarth was 5ft 9½ins tall, weighed 144 lbs and had a chest expansion from 34 to 37 inches. He was a Secondary School Master, Church of England, and lived at 2 Delaware Avenue, Evenwood, Co Durham. He was commissioned to 3rd Battalion, Durham Light Infantry on 30 October 1917. There is no record of the actual date either in the remaining papers or in the battalion war diary, but he must have been assigned and sent overseas to join 11 DLI, serving with A Company at some point between December 1917 (when 11 DLI came out of the line at Cambrai) and March 1918. The move may have been during or just after February 1918, when there was a major re-organisation of the Army to adjust to the heavy losses of the previous year.
His short officer’s career was cut short by the German Offensive of March 1918. According to the war diary he was one of three officers captured on Good Friday, 29 March 1918 during the attempt to recapture Mézieres.
Inglefield in the 20th Division history records the events as follows:
The French withdrew from Mézières about 1pm. The 59th Brigade held out with its flank turned until 1.30: then , having exhausted all available reserves, the brigade was forced to fall back on Villers. At this point the 60th Brigade came up and formed a defensive flank with the 12th KRRC and the 12th RB, keeping the 6th KSLI and the 11th DLI just north of Villers in reserve. Here there was a good deal of shelling, and Lt Col Welch, commanding the 6 KSLI was killed.
Just before 3pm Brigadier General Duncan received orders from the Division to recapture Mézières in conjunction with the 59th Brigade. The 12th KRRC on the right and the 12th RB were ordered to attack the village from the southwest, while on the left the 11th DLI, with the 11th RB of the 59th Brigade on their right, worked through a wood on the northwest. About a company of the 2nd Scottish Rifles operated on the right of the 11th RB…… very little artillery support was possible.
Zero was fixed at 4 pm. As the 12th RB received the orders at 3.45 and the 12th KRRC only at 3.55, these two battalions did fine work in carrying out their instructions and taking their place in the attack. They got right through the village, where they killed a large number of the enemy and took fifty prisoners. The 11th DLI, 10 officers and 130 men strong, came under a trench mortar barrage and enfilade machine-gun fire about 300 yards west of Mézières and lost heavily. Nevertheless the survivors worked their way forward. Lt King on the left got into the village and retired only when all his men had been hit. Captain Pemberton with a small party succeeded in pushing right through, but as he had then only two men left, he also had to fall back. Another party entered the square and destroyed three German trench mortars, which were found in position there.
The 12th KRRC and the 12th RB, however, were unable to hold the village, as they were caught in the rear by concealed parties of the enemy, who was also massing on their right front, and all battalions were forced to retire again.
The description shows that the whole of 11 DLI was involved in the attack and three officers, including Applegarth, were wounded or captured [see notes for Bushell and Ellwood for eyewitness accounts]. A telegram was sent to the family on 10 April reporting that Applegarth was missing and believed wounded. The authorities had the news from a German Hospital note dated 6 April that he was wounded and suffering from ‘traumatic tetanus shot wound chest’, at Wundstarr, Krampf, Bruslschuss. A further note to T Applegarth, 2 Delaware Avenue, Evenwood reported that he had died 8 April 1918 as a prisoner of war at Feldlagartl, Beaufort and that he had been buried at the Military Cemetery, Beaufort (Somme) in Grave 74.
It was still some time before full news reached the family. A letter from Mrs E Ada McQueen of Cleatlam House, Winston (on behalf of the family) elicited a response on 30 June reporting that a casualty list had been received indicating that he had died. In due course his effects were returned, listed in an inventory as a treasury note case, purse, comb, two regimental badges, letters, a whistle, handkerchief, 20 Reis and identity discs.
Applegarth’s father died in the first quarter of 1919 and his mother Hannah had to send a copy of his late father’s will on 22 May 1919 in order to claim his allowances. His accounts showed a credit of £76.15s.10d, less debts of £29.9s.3d, leaving £47.6s.7d. This was released to Hannah Applegarth via Jennings Solicitors, 10 Market Place, Bishop Auckland.
A final letter in the file was dated 12 October 1920 notifying exhumation from Beaufort German cemetery to Caix New British Cemetery, north east of Moreuil.
Private 16249, survived the war and was demobilised class Z. On 31 March 1917 he was driving a lorry that overturned at Le Transloy. Arkless was judged to be blameless, but the injury may have resulted in him being returned to England.
Peter Arkless appears accidentally in the service records, in the form of a report from a court of inquiry held on 31 March 1917, ‘in the field’ at Le Transloy. Arkless was driving a lorry, which capsized, throwing him out and injuring his left foot. The Court of Inquiry was to ensure that the injuries were not self-inflicted. In charge of the court was Major HP Lloyd, supported by 2nd Lts R Bushell and GS Dennis. [Note: see also records relating to each of these officers.]
The first witness was 21439 (incorrect, should be 24139) Corporal Thomas Armstrong. ‘On the 26th March I saw Pte T(sic) Arkless driving a G.S. Wagon out of No 2 Camp, Gillemont (sic). The off front wheel of the wagon dropped into a hole and I saw Pte Arkless thrown off the seat to the ground. When I got to the spot Arkless informed me that a wheel had gone over his foot but I hadn’t noticed this from where I stood. He limped a few yards and then sat down. I went on with my mules.’
The second witness was 12209 Private W Hume who reported as follows. ‘I saw Pte Arkless thrown from the seat of a G.S. Wagon, he was driving over some rough ground at Guillemont. He could not walk so I carried him on my back to the wagon. A medical officer of the KRR’s was sent for and ordered him to be taken to Trones Wood dressing station. I took him there in the wagon.’
The statements were forwarded by the court to A/Lt Col Hayes who formed the opinion that the injury was an accident in the course of duty and that Arkless was in no way to blame. Capt P Bennett of the RAMC at 62 Field Ambulance stated that the injury was serious and would in all probability interfere with his future efficiency as a soldier. However, no application for a pension has been found in surviving records.
Peter Arkless appears in the 1901 census records as the 12-year old son of William Arkless, a mason, and his wife May, living at 4 Muse Terrace, Healeyfield, near Consett. Two of Peter’s older brothers were then working as furnace men in the local steel works. It is entirely possible that Peter followed them into the same trade and would have been 25 in 1914.
Of the two witnesses quoted, Corporal Armstrong was later promoted to Sergeant and was demobilised class Z. William Hume was discharged as a result of injury or wounds, being awarded the Silver War Badge (see medal index card).
Private 24139 Thomas Armstrong of Depton, Co Durham, went out with 11 DLI on 20 July 1915, probably with B Company. He was later promoted to Sergeant and awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, London Gazette 60. While holding the rank of Corporal, he gave evidence in the Arkless enquiry 1917 (see above). He survived the war and was demobilised class Z.
Arnold, Thomas George
Sergeant 12313 Thomas George Arnold, later of Nottingham, went out with 10 DLI on 21 May 1915 and was later promoted to Colour Sergeant. While serving with 11 DLI he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, London Gazette 12 December 1919. Originally this was wrongly attributed as Sergeant in the Labour Corps, but corrected 28 October 1920.
Second Lieutenant, missing in action 29 March 1918. He is commemorated on the Pozières Memorial and has no known grave.
[TNA: WO339/114767 Containing correspondence, service and attestation papers.]
Frederick Arnott was born 14 March 1896 at Blyth, Northumberland. On enlistment Arnott was a bank clerk, previously educated at the National School, Blyth and at Rutherford College, Newcastle on Tyne. His father was Henry Arnott, a commercial traveller, and his mother Ann Arnott.
In the first instance Frederick Arnott signed up for the duration of the war as a private soldier on 13 November 1915, aged 19. His attestation form reveals that he was 5ft 8½ inches tall and his chest expanded by 2 inches to 38½ inches. He gave his religion as Church of England.
Arnott was initially posted to the Royal Fusiliers [Private 20177], training from 13 November 1915 to 3 May 1916 before embarking overseas with the 26th Battalion on 4 May 1916. He served with them until 17 May 1917. His service as a private was not entirely lilywhite. On 22 September 1916 he was arrested and imprisoned, facing a Field General Court Martial on 30 September 1916. He was found guilty of committing ‘when on active service an act to the prejudice of good order and military discipline in that he discharged a revolver whilst in his bivouac thereby wounding a comrade’. He was fined 28 days’ pay. He was wounded in the neck 4 October 1916, treated in the field on 7 October 1916, temporarily hospitalised and returned to his unit on 15 October, arriving back on the 17th. During this time he was with the Lewis Gun Section of C Company.
Neither event seems to have done him any harm as he was appointed Lance Corporal 23 December 1916, confirmed as unpaid at that rank on 8 January 1917, posted officially as Lance Corporal on 18 May 1917 and the following day sent home to England as a candidate for a commission. He had been originally recommended for promotion by his battalion Lieutenant Colonel on 18 January 1917. He was attached as Lance Corporal to the Training Reserve at Aldershot on 22 June 1917. From there he was sent to No 21 Officer Cadet Battalion at Crookham on 6 July 1917 and was finally discharged from his rank as Lance Corporal into a temporary commission on 30 October 1917. According to his application papers he was not able to ride and particularly asked to be attached to the Durham Light Infantry. The address given was ‘Chatsworth’, Windsor Avenue, Blyth, Northumberland.
Initially 2nd Lt Arnott was sent to 3rd Battalion Durham Light Infantry, the reserve battalion, and after a further period of training was posted to the 11th Battalion on 12 January 1918, re-embarked for France on 15 January, arrived Étaples 17 January and joined his battalion on the 21st as one of a group of eight new officers. It was to be a short career as an officer as he found himself in action during the German Offensive of March 1918. He was listed as wounded and missing on 29 March 1918. A telegram was sent to the family on 10 April 1918.
What exactly happened to him is not entirely clear as (unusually in the circumstances) the battalion war diary does not contain a specific reference to him by name. 29 March was Good Friday and by then the battalion was in poor shape numerically and effectively in the command of Captain RLS Pemberton. The Germans had just dislodged the French from the village of Mézières and 11 DLI was sent in to try to recapture the village. One can only assume that 2 Lt Arnott led one of the groups into the village. Three other officers were captured, Pemberton and 2 Lt King won the MC for the attempt, but losses were catastrophic. Despite a gallant effort and some initial success, the attempt failed.
The papers at the National Archives reveal several attempts to try to find out what happened to Arnott over several months. A letter dated 30 September 1918 from Captain DG Scott-Tucker was addressed to Mrs A Arnott, 8 Windsor Avenue, Blyth and read: ‘No further official report has been received. Enquiries through the Netherlands Legation have been without result. In view of the lapse of time since anything has been heard of this officer, his name is put forward for presumption of death. No official information is attached.’ The family were even given the addresses of relatives of Captain WGL Sear MC and 2 Lt HJE Whitfield, who were also reported wounded around the same time, in case they had managed to hear any more specific details. There are many letters on the file asking for further information, from his father, mother and sister.
Arnott’s sister, Mrs M Fawcett, finally wrote in July 1919 and received a reply on the 22nd July 1919 which essentially acknowledged that his death had to be presumed, though there was no record of either his body or his kit. His effects were disposed through the solicitors Lynn and Rutherford of Blyth to Henry Arnott as his natural, lawful father, since Frederick was an ‘intestate bachelor’. The only significant effects consisted of a net credit from his pay of £64.0s.4d plus a further £11 reflecting his service in the ranks.
In the 1901 Census he is listed as the 5 year old son of Henry Arnott, innkeeper of the Buffalo Inn, Cowpen, near Morpeth. His mother was Ann Arnott and he had an 11 year old sister, Megan.
[tbc] FGCM entry regarding his misdemeanour in September 1916
[tbc] Local War Memorial at Blyth
Arthurs, George Frederick
Arthurs was a mason’s labourer living at 97 Rodney Street, Swansea when he attested in Swansea aged 22 yrs 4 months. He was called up at Taunton on 28 Jan 1916 and assigned to the Depot of the Somerset Light Infantry, regimental number 33326. He was 5ft 3 1/8in tall, with a 33½ in chest, weighed 114lbs and had tattoo marks on both arms. He gave his next of kin as his aunt, Emily Dyer, at the same address.
On 27 April 1916 he was declared unfit for overseas duty by a medical board at Blandford, suffering from a ‘left inguinal hernia which could be completely controlled by a truss’. The latter was supplied on 13 May and on 1 September 1916 he went to the Training Battalion. However on 6 October he was re-classified B1 by a travelling medical board and declared ‘unlikely to become fit’. He was passed for home service with 10 Somerset Light Infantry, but must have had further treatment (perhaps an operation), as this was not the end of the story.
On 14 July 1917 he was assigned to 27 Durham Light Infantry and 216th Training Brigade with the new regimental number of 21182. Following further training he was sent overseas on 22 December 1917, initially to join 1st/6th DLI, but was transferred out almost immediately.
He joined 11 DLI on 25 December 1917. He was reported missing in action early on in the March Retreat, on 23 March 1918. No information about him was received from the German authorities. On 5 November 1918 the War Office wrote to the family to see if they had heard any news about him. He was finally declared officially as presumed dead on 17 July 1919, more than a year after his death.
After the war it would seem that his aunt, Emily Dyer, had died, as all correspondence was conducted through his sister Selina living at the Swansea & Counties Club, Wind Street, Swansea. There was also a brother, William, who appears in the correspondence.
Having no known grave, Private Arthurs is commemorated on the Pozières Memorial to the Missing.
In 1901 he was aged 7 and listed at 109 Rodney Street, Swansea, with his mother, Mary aged 32 and his sister Selina aged 10. The house was sub-divided to provide accommodation for two other household units of five and two members respectively.
Atkinson, Frederick William
Private 376385, missing in action, 27 March 1918, commemorated on the Pozières Memorial. He enlisted in Leeds, but was born in Bradford.
According to his medal index card, Atkinson originally joined the West Yorkshire Regiment with the number 2719. This would have been with one of the four territorial battalions (5th – 8th) that formed the 146th West Riding Brigade, of the 49th West Riding Division. They went overseas in the first instance on 15-16 April 1915.
Training was originally at Selby, before moving to Strensall and then York. Training was completed at Gainsborough from March 1915, prior to embarkation.
As no service records have survived, we can only surmise, on the basis of similar changes of numbering and assignment, that Atkinson may have been wounded while serving with his original battalion. After recovery in the UK he was probably transferred to 11 DLI.
Private 12204, railwayman from South Shields, killed in action, 2 August 1916, buried Euston Road Cemetery, Colincamps. B Company. Service records have not survived.
According to Soldiers died he was born and enlisted in South Shields. His death is reported in the North Eastern Railway Magazine for July 1919, page 118, with a photograph, and the report indicated that he had been employed by the NER as a shunter at Tyne Dock. He had worked for the NER since September 1906.
Three other 11 DLI men are listed as dying the same day, and are buried at the Sucrerie Cemetery (Ptes David John Howells, A McLean and G Scott). The battalion were stationed at The Dell, from which base they were involved in trying to consolidate trenches and communications in a bitterly fought battlefield.
In the 1901 census there is a John Atkinson, aged 8, living with his father William (a general labourer at a glass works), mother Mary and siblings, Elizabeth, Alice, Robert and George, at 30 Campbell Street, South Shields. This is possibly the man in question, as he would have been old enough in 1906 to commence work with the NER.
Private 74971, died of wounds as a prisoner of war, Langensalza, 8 May 1918, and was buried at Niederzwehren Cemetery, Germany.
Austin attested at Taunton on 10 December 1915, aged 30, under the Derby Scheme. Living at 27 Herbert Street, Taunton, he was a Foreman Maltster. He was married to Minnie Alice Austin (née Woodward), 22 February 1906, at Aston Registry Office, Birmingham. They had a daughter Olive Mabel, born Ironbridge, 12 June 1909. He was 5ft 4½ in tall, 34in chest, 127lbs.
He was not called up until 11 April 1917, posted to 10th Somerset Light Infantry with the regimental number, 36306. There is a letter dated 18 November 1916 calling him to a meeting to discuss his exemption certificate 264 granted 25/5/1916. The meeting took place on 25 November 1916 but does not seem to have changed the situation. There is no indication as to the reason behind the exemption, but it is noticeable from later correspondence that his wife moved to the Birmingham area. She stayed at one point with her father in law Joseph Austin at 146 Bunbury St, Lozells, Birmingham, later to Burley Street, Hockley and then 46 Bamville Road, Ward End, Birmingham. In August 1918 a letter was forwarded by a M .Lindsay (possibly her sister or a neighbour) of 39 Bamville Road to say that she could not deal with War Office correspondence as she was in hospital. It may be that she was in delicate health.
On 22 December 1917 Austin was sent abroad and posted to 1/6th DLI, only to be transferred on 25 December 1917 to 11 DLI. He was reported missing on 24 March 1918. He was reported as having died of wounds at PoW camp Langensalza on 8 May 1918. A later letter translated the death certificate from the camp stating that he had died on 8 May 1918 at 10pm of chronic colitis and enteritis (letter sent to Mrs Austin 22 June 1920).
Mrs Austin was awarded a pension of 20s 5d from 10 February 1919.
At the time of the 1911 Census, Ernest, aged 26, was living at 20 Madeley Road, Ironbridge in Shropshire, with is wife Minnie Alice, aged 24, and daughter Olive Mabel, not then 2 years old.