Arthur grew up in Plumstead, Woolwich (Sweetenham Place, Charles Street and later Bloomfield Road), then in late August 1905, at the tender age of 14, he signed up in Woolwich to join the Army. On his Attestation Form he confirmed his age, place of birth, and parents’ names, also stating that he was an “errand boy” and “Church of England“, and he was placed with the Royal Garrison Artillery (Service Number: 23672).
From 1906 to 1909 Arthur attended Ordnance College in Woolwich, receiving his 3rd Class Certificate of Education as a Gunner there in 1907. Then in April 1909 he was mustered as a Gunner with the 15th Company RGA, serving in England. In the 1911 Census Arthur was living at the Royal Artillery Barracks at Woolwich Common.
In September 1911 Arthur was posted to Malta with the 96th Company, where he was still located at the outbreak of World War One. At this point Arthur was transferred to the 99th Company RGA, still in Malta, as part of the Malta Expeditionary Force; he was promoted to 1st Class Gunner in April 1915. Truth be told, Arthur’s war experience in Malta would have been fairly easy – he was based in Western District, Malta tasked with securing the base, which was critical to the conduct of Allied operations around the Mediterranean.
On 20 May 1916 Arthur returned to England for a month before joining the British Expeditionary Force in France on 21 June 1916. In April 1918 Arthur was promoted to Fitter Staff Sergeant and he was transferred to 36 Company RGA, then a month later in May 1918 he was further transferred to 139? Company RGA.
Just a few weeks before the end of the war, Arthur was wounded in action in France and entitled to wear a ‘wound stripe’. At this time he was still a Fitter Staff Sergeant and his injury was reported in War Office Daily List Number 5692 on 10 October 1918.
We have no knowledge of the extent or details of his injuries, but Arthur did not return home from France until January 1919, after war’s end. Then in February 1919 he was transferred to Class Z Army Reserve on Demobilisation. For his services, Arthur received the British War and Victory Medals.
After the war Arthur returned to live in Plumstead, Woolwich, marrying Annette L. Gage there in 1930. In the 1939 Register they were living at 66 Brewery Road, Plumstead – Arthur was a “Labourer General Engineers Mate“.
Arthur eventually died in 1987 in Greenwich at the ripe old age of 96.
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