Private G/42703 Arthur Attwell

Attwell Arthur 96 400x600 Attwell Arthur Collection 96 400x600
Photograph believed to be Arthur Attwell, courtesy of great-grandson Bryan Hanner.

Killed in Action on Wednesday, 20th June 1917, age 28.
Commemorated on Panel 49 and 51 of Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

13th Bn., Middlesex Regiment. 73rd Brigade of 24th Division.

Husband of Mrs Martha A. Attwell.
Born: Great Bridge, Enlisted: Tipton, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, 30th April 1917.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library Memorial.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/925896/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Arthur Attwell registered September Quarter 1888 at Dudley.

1901 Census
9 Leech Street, Horseley Heath, Tipton, Staffs.
Ann Attwell (57, Widow, born Bangor, Wales), and her 3 children: Mary A. (19, Warehouse Worker, born West Bromwich), Samuel (17, Iron Pipe Prover, born Tipton), and Arthur (12, born Tipton).

1911 Census
9 Leech Street, Horseley Heath, Tipton, Staffs.
Ann Attwell (67, Widow, born Glouctershire), and 2 of her surviving 6 children of 14: Samuel (27, Labourer, born Tipton), and Arthur (23, Iron Caster, born Tipton).

Mariage of Arthur Attwell and Martha A. Smith registered December quarter 1915 at Dudley.

Personal Data

Arthur’s Soldier’s Papers were amongst the approximately 75% destroyed during the Blitz of 1940, however those belonging to his comrades with adjacent numbers survived. Their papers indicate that they went overseas on 30th April 1917. Whilst at 30 Infantry Base Depot in Etaples, they were transferred from the 74th Training Reserve Battalion to the Middlesex Regiment, and posted to the 13th Battalion.

It seems likely that Arthur’s journey was the same, and so he joined the 13th Middlesex in May 1917. Unfortunately, the Battalion War Diary does not record specific dates when reinforcements/drafts were received, for May 1917 it just shows a figure of 338 "Other Ranks”.

After Arthur's death, his army pay and allowances had been overpaid to the value of £2/6/9d (2 pounds, 6 shillings and 9 pence). His relatives were informed of this Debit balance in October 1917, but here is no record if repayment was ever requested or made. His War Gratuity was £3/0/0d (3 pounds exactly), this was paid to his wife and sole legatee, Martha, in November 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Arthur had enlisted within the 12 months prior to his death.

Action resulting in his death

On the 7th June 1917 the 13th Middlesex (as part of 24th Division) had been the second wave at the Battle of Messines, when the 19 mines were exploded beneath the Messines Ridge. After a week in camps to the south east of Poperinghe, on the 19th June the 13th Middlesex moved back to the front line between Hill 60 and the Ypres-Comines canal.

Between the 20th and 23rd June, the 13th Middlesex were employed in consolidating and strengthening a new trench line under persistent heavy shelling, especially at night. During those days 28 Other Ranks were killed, eight of them on the 20th including Arthur Attwell. Arthur has no known grave, and is commemorated on the Menin Gate in Ypres.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald 28th July 1917
FALLEN IN THE FIGHT. - The following Tipton men are recorded this week:-
Killed: Private A Attwell, Tipton, Middlesex Regiment.