Taken, Not Given
1st Royal Fusiliers
4 Jan 1917 [sic - see CWGC record below]
Taken, Not Given, Liam Sumption, L&DLHSFrank Arnold may have been killed bringing up the rations. Announcing his death in France, the May 1917 issue of the Parish magazine tells us a little about his background. (1)
He had been the Assistant Superintendent of the Prudential Assurance Society and latterly Inspector of the London and Lancashire Assurance Society. He was also “a much valued member of the All Saints Relief Committee“. The obituary also stated that he had enlisted “in spite of uncertain health".
A little more about Frank can be gleaned from the records of the Royal Fusiliers.
They confirm his service with the First Battalion, and that he enlisted in Leatherhead. However he was not a native of Leatherhead having actually been born in Market Harborough, in Leicestershire. Moreover the records indicate that he was “killed in action“ on 14 April 1917 and not the 4th. (2)
The War Diary of the First Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, tells what happened:
However, the story does not end here. The records of the History Society concerning the erection of the War Memorial state that Mrs Arnold, mother of the deceased, was unwilling to see her son's name on the memorial but was persuaded by Mr Tribe of the Committee.
- On 3rd April the Fusiliers were at Ablain St. Nazaire. The weather was cold and crisp "we still have a little snow".
- On 9th April a possible counter-attack by the Prussian Guard “who are massing at DOUAI is expected“.
- On 11 April, the diary records "more snow has fallen – bitter cold" "73 Brigade to attack Bois-en-Hache. Zero hour will be 5 a.m.,12th inst."
- On 13th April "Quiet day – move back to Fosse 10."
- On 14th April "moved to Mechanics Brigade Reserve. Arrived 3 p.m. and 'A' and 'B' Coys carrying ammunition, bombs etc. to new position." "Boche shelling his old front line rather heavily“ and then “Ration parties for front battalions were on the move until 2 a.m. All rations reached front line battalions safely. Altho we sustained some casualties from shell fire." (3). The casualties were 5 other ranks killed, and four more wounded as well as 2nd Lt Read (wounded).
The minutes in full say “that F. Arnold's name or to be included if possible: however (?) it was necessary to obtain consent of his family which Mrs Arnold had so far refused. Permission was obtained by Mr Tribe "through his intimate knowledge“ [Mr Tribe may well have lost a son himself - see Ronald Tribe and Herbert Tribe]. (4)
Notes on sources
1. Parish Magazine St Mary and St Nicholas Leatherhead, issue May 1917
2. Soldiers who Died in Great War: copy in Regimental Museum of Royal Fusiliers, HM Tower of London
3. File W095-2207 War Diary First Battalion Royal Fusiliers, HM Tower of London
4. Records of Leatherhead and District Local History Society (LX622) Minutes of War Memorial Committee, 27th August 1920.
Service Number 42530
Died 14/04/1917 (this is over 3 months later than shown on the Leatherhead War Memorial)
1st Bn. Royal Fusiliers
Commemorated at ARRAS MEMORIAL
Location: Pas de Calais, France
Cemetery/memorial reference: Bay 3.
Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser
Saturday 29 December 1917
The list which present has been compiled from the names that have been recorded in our Columns during the past year....
ARNOLD, Pte. Fred, of the Queen's, husband of Mrs. Arnold, Copthorne-road, Leatherhead.
In the 1881 Census Frank Arnold (3, estimated birth year about 1878 , born in Market Harborough) was living in the family home in the High Street of the parish of Great Bowden, Leicestershire. His father Charles Arnold, was a Labourer (37, born London); his mother was listed as EJ Arnold (35, born Dittisham, Devonshire). His siblings were Fred Chs. Arnold (9, scholar, born Fratton, Hampshire) and Edwin R. Arnold (6mths b Market Harborough).
In the 1891 Census Frank Arnold was 13. His father Charles (48) was described as a Factory Labourer. With them in Great Bowden, Leicestershire, were his siblings F C Arnold (19), E R Arnold (10), Rodney Arnold (8), E V Arnold (6) and J E Arnold (3).
In the 1901 Census Frank Arnold was 24, a Bread Salesman/Baker. He was living at 176 Bridge Road, Battersea.
With him were his wife Jessie, born Shenley, Hertfordshire, daughter Gladys Jessie (1, born Battersea) and Fred Rogers (26, born Shenley, Herts), his brother in law, who was also a Bread Salesman/Baker.
In the 1911 Census Frank Arnold was 33. He was living at Lime View, Copthorne Road, Leatherhead, and was an Assistant Superintendent with the Prudential Assurance Co Ltd. With him were his wife Jessie (34) and their children Gladys Jessie (11) and Agnes Mariel (8 1/2). Frank had significantly changed his occupation, a move up in the world it would seem. Even whilst he was serving he was keen that he clients be looked after:
Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser
Saturday 9 December 1916
Mr. Frank Arnold wishes to announce that during his temporary absence with the colours all enquiries respecting insurance matters will receive prompt attention addressed to him at "Lime View", Copthorne-road, Leatherhead.
The May 1917 Leatherhead Parish Magazine reference to Frank in full is as follows:
Frank Arnold, 1st Royal Fusiliers, killed in action in France, April 14th, 1917. He was a well-known and much respected Parishioner, Assistant-Superintendent for this district of the Prudential Assurance Society, and latterly Inspector for Surrey of the London and Lancashire Assurance Society, and a much-valued member of All Saints’ Relief Committee. In spite of uncertain health, he displayed a most cheerful and resolute devotion to duty: and a courageous determination to do the utmost in his power for his country’s cause.
the website editor would like to add further information on this casualty
e.g. a photo of him, his name on the Arras Memorial,
and of any recollections within his family
last updated 20 Feb 18: 27 May 20: 8 Sep 20