(L to R) 1914-15 Star; British War Medal; Allied Victory Medal with 'Mentioned in Despatches' oak leaves
Arthur was born on the 6th July 1893 in Saltney, Cheshire. His father was called Robert and his mother was Eliza Ann. Arthur was their only child. He grew up at 38 Prince Street in Ardwick, Manchester.
Robert worked as a bricklayer, and by 1911 Arthur had begun to work as a clerk for Hall and Pickles Limited, an iron and steel merchant. They had offices at 64 Port Street in Manchester.
The First World War broke out in August 1914 and Arthur joined the Army on the 2nd September. He enlisted into the 2nd City Battalion that was being formed in Manchester. The City Battalions were formed to allow the men of Manchester to enlist and serve together. The 2nd City Battalion became the 17th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment and Arthur was assigned to VI Platoon in B Company. His service number was 8217.
The 17th Battalion trained at Heaton Park in Manchester until April 1915. During his time there James sent 2 postcards home. The first had a photograph of Arthur and some of his comrades on the front. It was sent on the 23rd September and read:
Dear Mother and Father,
I expect you will be able to find me all right on here. If you come on Friday please bring my toothbrush. We have to be in now by 9:30 as some chaps kicked up a row yesterday.
Best love from your loving son.
Unfortunately although Robert and Eliza probably found Arthur on the postcard, we cannot. The second was sent on the 30th October and read:
Dear Mother and Father,
I may be able to get home tomorrow about 5 o'clock till 9:30 but if I don't come let me know what time father is coming with May on Sunday.
After leaving Heaton Park the battalion moved to Belton Park near Grantham in Lincolnshire. That September they moved to Larkhill in Wiltshire, and on the 8th November 1915 Arthur sailed to France.
After he arrived in France Arthur was based in the Couin area until the end of 1915. He then moved to Maricourt and Bray in the first half of 1916. During June the battalion began training to take part in the Somme Offensive, and Arthur will have taken part in the attack on Montauban on the 1st July that began this battle.
By the 3rd over 350 of the 900 soldiers from the 17th Battalion who had begun this attack were dead, wounded or missing. The battalion fought at Trones Wood on the 10th and Guillemont on the 30th. After a period of rest followed by quieter service in the front lines they took part in the attack on the village of Flers on the 12th October. The rest of the year was spent in a quiet sector around Bellacourt.
At some point Arthur was transferred to the Army Service Corps. He was given the service number S4/232787. We don't know exactly when or which unit he joined, although on Christmas Eve 1916 he was still with the 17th Battalion. We know this because he attended the Whist Drive and Concert held that day by the Non Commissioned Officers of the 90th Brigade, which included the 17th Battalion. He was a Lance Corporal at the time.
At some point during this period Arthur was wounded. We don't know when, or how severe his injury was. He was sent to the 4th Stationary Hospital in early June 1917. By this time he had been promoted to Sergeant. He was with the Army Service Corps by this time.
We don't know when Arthur returned to duty, or where he served. By the end of the war in November 1918 he was serving with the Intelligence Corps as a Clerk. He advanced into western Germany with the British Army of Occupation and served there until he was transferred to the Class Z Army Reserve on the 27th July 1919. This meant he could have been called back to the Army if the Armistice with Germany had broken down; but it never did.
Arthur's conduct during his service had been 'very good'. Unfortunately we don't know any details of his work with the Intelligence Corps.
Shortly after the end of the war the National Publishing Company began an attempt to print a roll covering every man who had served in the First World War. They invited veterans or their families to send a short account of his or her service, for a fee. Not all veterans took up this offer, and the details they included were not checked for accuracy. Arthur or his parents sent this biography to the Company. It was published in Section IX, Manchester, of the National Roll of the Great War:
Lloyd, A. R., Sergeant. Manchester Regiment
Volunteering in September 1914, he was drafted to France in October of the following year, and played a distinguished part in the heavy fighting in various sectors and was gassed. He was in action at Ypres, the Somme, Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele, and was later transferred to the Intelligence Corps. He rendered valuable services during the Retreat and Advance of 1918, and after the Armistice served with the Army of Occupation on the Rhine. He holds the 1914-15 Star, and the General Service and Victory Medals, and was demobilised in July 1919.
38, Prince Street, Ardwick, Manchester.
Arthur's life after the war remains a mystery. He may have married Amy Barlow between July and September 1920 at St Jerome's Church in Ardwick. We believe they had 2 children: Dorothy in 1921 and Arthur in 1925.
Arthur had joined the 17th Manchester's Old Boys' Association on the 30th April 1919, and had membership number 169. He went on a reunion trip to his old battlefields in France during 1929. In 1964 he attended the dinner held at Manchester Town Hall to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the formation of the City Battalions. Several of the other guests, probably the men he was sharing a table with, signed his programme.
Arthur died in February 1990 in Macclesfield, Cheshire, aged 96.