Photograph of Arthur in Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre. Reference: MR4/17/330
(L to R) British War Medal; Allied Victory Medal
Arthur was born between April and June 1891 in Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire. His father was called Charles and his mother was Alice. He was their youngest child; Emily, John, Albert, George, Harold, Percy, and Alice were his siblings. Albert's medals are also in the Museum of the Manchester Regiment collection.
Charles worked as a joiner, and he raised his family in Ashton. They lived at 98 Charles Street when Arthur was born. By 1901 his mother had died and the family had moved to 34 Victoria Street. His older brothers and sisters had begun to work and support the family.
At some point Arthur followed in Albert's footsteps and joined the 3rd Volunteer Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. This was a unit of the Volunteer Force based in Ashton. Its members lived as civilians and kept their normal jobs. They trained as soldiers during the evenings and weekends. They would also have an annual training camp, lasting around 2 weeks. Arthur served in the battalion band.
The Army considered the Volunteer Force to be inadequate for a modern war and on the 31st March 1908 it was converted into the Territorial Force. This was intended to be better trained and more able to reinforce the Regular Army in a war.
Arthur transferred to the new 9th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. We don't know his service number. By 1911 his civilian job was a gas engine painter and he lived with Albert's family at 38 Portland Street in Ashton.
When the First World War broke out in August 1914 the 9th Battalion was mobilised and sailed to Egypt on the 10th September. Arthur was serving as a Drummer in H Company, but did not go with them. We don't know why. Albert was H Company's Sergeant Major. He did go to Egypt.
The 9th Battalion formed a Reserve to train new recruits and this eventually became the 2/9th Battalion. We believe that Arthur became a member of this unit. They trained in the UK during 1915 and 1916.
By the time Arthur was sent overseas he had been promoted to the rank of Corporal. The 1/9th and 2/9th Battalions both went to France in March 1917. We can't be sure which one Arthur served with. At around the same time soldiers serving in Territorial units were given new service numbers. The 9th Battalion was given the range 350001 to 375000, and Arthur's became 350060.
We don't know anything about Arthur's time in France, although the 1/9th and 2/9th Battalions both took part in the Passchendaele Offensive, fought around Ypres in Belgium during the autumn of 1917.
The 1/9th and 2/9th were joined together to form the 9th Battalion in February 1918. The next month the Germans launched a major offensive aimed at defeating the Allies before large number of American soldiers could enter the war against them. The 9th Battalion was one of the units that faced this attack.
Arthur was killed in action on the 21st March 1918, the first day of the offensive. He was 27 years old. After the war Arthur's grave could not be found so his name is one of the 14,656 listed on the Pozieres Memorial in France. Albert is on Panel 64 to 67.
Albert's medals were presented to Arthur at 38 Portland Street in April 1922. Arthur had fought with the 1/9th Battalion, but was discharged due to injury or sickness on the 14th October 1918.
The medals of both brothers were donated to the Museum of the Manchester Regiment in January 2000.