Service number: 13208 | Rank: Sergeant | Regiment: Devonshire Regiment.
Killed in action, July 1, 1916, in Flanders. Aged 24.
Buried at DEVONSHIRE CEMETERY, MAMETZ, Somme, France.
WHAT I KNOW ABOUT ARTHUR …
Arthur was the eldest child, born in 1892 to Brandon flint knapper Robert and Esther Field, who at the time lived at 63 Thetford Road in Brandon. By the time the 1911 Census was conducted Arthur was living with his grandmother, Eliza, at the Coach and Horses Inn, still along the Thetford Road, and was employed as an assistant in one of the town’s grocer shops.
At the outbreak of war he enlisted for the Army at Richmond in Surrey and underwent a year of training before going to the Front in July 1915. A couple of months later his unit was defending a ridge against the Germans when a shell burst very close to him and although he suffered bleeding from his ears and nose he was considered lucky to have survived. He was taken to a dressing station behind the lines and was then duly returned to the UK to recover from severe concussion, spending time at the Southern Hospital in Birmingham.
After he recovered from his wounds he was returned to his unit at the Front and became involved in the Battle of the Somme. On June 30th Arthur’s battalion left the safety of their trenches in the rear-guard and by 2.35am on the 1st July they had moved into trenches along the front line in preparation of an attack on the German positions. The attack began at 7.27am and almost immediately a few German prisoners were brought back to the Devonshire’s positions. However the fighting became confused and a gap opened up on the Devonshire’s left flank and efforts to send messages from the fighting men to the headquarters were hampered when communication lines were cut and runners were unable to get through to deliver battle orders. The battalion’s leadership problems were also restricted when all but one of their officers became casualties, with many men being cut down by enemy machine gun fire. Despite all this the battalion did achieve their objectives and it seemed they had also repelled the enemy’s counter attacks which occurred later into the night. Sadly at some point through all this confused fighting Arthur was killed. He was 24 years old.
Arthur’s mother, Esther, named as his next of kin, provided the words for the inscription on his headstone … “Dearly beloved, by all who knew him”.