Saturday, October 1, 2016

Season of mists Pt II

The last guided cemetery walk at Radnor Street Cemetery this 2016 season takes place on Sunday October 9, meet at the chapel 2 pm.

To get you in the mood, why not join me on a virtual walk.

The leaves are swept off the trees and branches creak and moan as the wind whips across the cemetery on the hill today.  But the sun is shining and I'm wrapped up warmly so off we go.

This is the final resting place of members of the Wall family, husband and wife William and Mary Ann, and their son Arthur Henry.

Arthur was born in 1899, one of six children born to William and Mary Ann of whom only three sons survived childhood.  He grew up in Rodbourne living at addresses in Redcliffe Street, Drew Street, Linslade Street, Montague Street and Jennings Street.  William worked as a Boiler Maker in the railway factory and when young Arthur left school he followed him into the GWR Works and the same trade.

Following the outbreak of war in 1914 Arthur was keen to join up and enlisted in the 2nd Wiltshire Battalion on January 12, 1915.  He gave his age as 19.  He was in fact not yet 16, but recruiting officers were apt to turn a blind eye to fresh faced, eager young volunteers.  He was posted to France on June 1 where his age was quickly detected and on July 7, 1915 he was sent back to England as being 'under age and physically unfit for service at the front.'  He spent the following year in service on the home front before returning to France in June 1916, this time in the 1st Hertfordshires.

His service records reveal that on May 12, 1918 he was gassed. His medical records state that his capacity was lessened by 40% and he was left with defective vision and suffering from headaches.  He was discharged on November 23, 1918 as being no longer physically fit for war service.  He received a pension of 11s and returned to Swindon where he married Mabel Pinnegar in 1919.  

Whether Arthur was able to return to work as a boiler maker remains unknown.  In 1920 he wrote to the Infantry Record Office asking if he was entitled to anything under Army Order 325/19 concerning the Territorial extra allowances.  He received this reply:

'I regret to inform you that you are not entitled to any extra pay or allowances under Army Order 325 of 1919 as you were discharged on 23rd November, 1918.

The increase of pay authorised under the Army Order in question was only granted from 1st July, 1919 to soldiers who were actually serving on the date of the order, viz 13th September 1919.

Arthur died on May 22, 1922 aged just 23 years old.  Further research is required to establish if his death was as a direct result of his military service.  If so it is possible he would be entitled to an official Commonwealth War Graves headstone.  His father William died on the same day as his son Arthur, another event which requires further research.  Such tragedy for one Swindon family.

Well the rain held off - hope to see you again tomorrow.

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