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Cpl 15/503 West Yorkshire Regiment, Prince of Wales Own. 15th Battalion, Leeds Pals

Arthur was born in 1891, St. Clements, Leeds – the last child of John William Jackson and Mary-Ann Shepherd. Mary-Ann herself had been born in Potternewton around 1852 and John had been born in September of 1854, somewhere in Leeds. The two married in September of 1878 and had six children in total. Only three survived past infancy however – Mabel, Mary-Elizabeth and Arthur. In 1881 they lived at 22 Morrell Street in north-east Leeds. They had moved by 1891 to 8 Roscoe Street in central Leeds, again in 1901, to 3 Carlton View in north-west Leeds and finally in 1911 to 12 Faith Street, Carlton Hill. It seems that they also lived for a short period in Farnley. (Source: 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911 Census)

In 1911, Arthur was working as a china packer, but three years later in 1914, he was working at the Yorkshire Penny Bank, Woodsley Road Branch. This suggests that he had a reasonable education. Further to this, his elder sister Mabel had been a pupil teacher and then gone to university where she achieved a BA – not something which was common in this era. Therefore, one could suggest that it was this background which led to his appointment as Lance Corporal in B Company when he enlisted on 4th September 1914. Initially, there was a serious shortage of qualified Non-Commissioned Officers and so anyone with any sort of experience in leading men was likely to be made up. He was attested on 11th September 1914 and made 1st Section Commander, No. 5 Platoon. Later on in his service he was made up to Corporal.

Arthur was at Colsterdale for his basic training and whilst he was at Ripon, along with the rest of the battalion, took part in the Northern Command Cross Country Championships at Gosforth Park. He was reported in the Armley and Wortley News as having come 85th out of a total of 1384 runners.

He travelled to Egypt with the battalion and from there to France to prepare for the Battle of the Somme. On 1st July as the battalion attacked Serre, he was severely wounded. Arthur was evacuated to England and sent to Beckett’s Park – the 2nd Northern General Hospital. Despite this, he died of his wounds three weeks later on 20th July 1916 aged just 25.

He was first buried in the Leeds General Cemetery at Woodhouse and when this could no longer be maintained, he was commemorated on the War Memorial at Lawnswood cemetery, as well as on the memorial at Farnley. (Source: Farnley War Memorial, Lawnswood Cemetery, CWGC)

He was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. (Source: Medal Card)

Researcher: Peter Taylor

Please Note:

  • All opinions and inferences are the researcher’s own.
  • Please refer to our Glossary of Terms for further information on the terms and phrases used in this post.
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