Arthur was born in Salters Lode, Denver near Downham Market, Norfolk to parents James and Eliza on 22nd June 1893, the fourth of eleven children. Arthur was one of two boys born, he grew up surrounded by sisters.
He was first mentioned in the 1901 census records, aged 8 living in the small parish of Salters Lode with his parents, siblings and grandparents, all at the village farm house, as Arthur’s grandfather worked as the Foreman to the farm. By the following 10 years, most of Arthur’s sisters had left the family - he worked on a farm with his father as a Horseman, his father a shepherd.
Perhaps Arthur wanted to have new experiences which were outside of farm life for he joined the Royal Navy for 12 years service on 15th January 1913 aged 19. He began his Stoker training at HMS Pembroke I, as a Stoker 2nd Class - he was recorded as 5’1” tall, with brown hair and grey eyes. He remained in Chatham until 3rd July 1913 and was transferred to HMS Blenheim for a further 6 months. Following a further 2 months back at Pembroke, he joined the dreadnought HMS Vanguard on 10th February 1914 before war had broken out.
He made rapid progress in his ranks - he rose to Stoker 1st Class on 25th March 1914 and Acting Leading Stoker on 21st September 1915. He was aboard the ship during her participation of the Battle of Jutland and rose to Leading Stoker on 21st March 1917.
He wrote home to his younger sister Ivy, shortly before his death - “Write soon, I shall be home about Aug all being well. Goodbye, with best love, Arthur xxxx”
He died aged 25.
#270 - 745/843
1901 & 1911 England Census
Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services, 1848-1939 National Archives Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services; Class: ADM 188; Piece: 901
UK and Ireland, Find A Grave Index, 1300s-Current - Ancestry.com
British Army and Navy Birth, Marriage and Death Records, 1730-1960 National Archives Admiralty: Naval Casualties, Indexes, War Grave Rolls and Statistics Book, First World War.; Class: ADM 242; Piece:010 (1914 - 1919)
British Army and Navy Birth, Marriage and Death Records, 1730-1960 National Archives Admiralty and predecessors: Office of the Director General of the Medical Department of the Navy and predecessors: Service Registers and Registers of Deaths and Injuries. Registers of Reports of Deaths
WWI Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914-1923 Western Front Association; London, England; Pension Record Cards; Reference: 179/0916/TEA-TEN
Photos courtesy of Victor Nugent