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  • 12573 Corporal Arthur Williams was killed in action on 9 August 1915 and is commemorated on the Helles Memorial. Visited, wreath laid and photograph taken by John Morse.
Person Details
24 Sep 1891
Bootle Liverpool
Arthur Acquila was the son of John Robert and Lydia Williams (née Clarke or Clark formerly Shacklady or Schacklady). His father John Robert was born in Manchester in about 1858, the son of Robert Williams, a draper, who had died before his son's marriage to Lydia in 1883. His mother Lydia Clarke was born in Liverpool on 17 September 1859, the daughter of Thomas Clarke, a boot maker. Lydia married first Richard Shacklady in 1878 (O/N/D West Derby Lancashire); her husband probably died in 1880 (O/N/D West Derby) aged about 22. Lydia married John Robert Williams at St James' church, West Derby, on 7 October 1883 (O/N/D West Derby). John Robert (25) was a warehouseman and living with Lydia (23) at 47 Childers Street. John and Lydia had at least three children, all born in Bootle: John Albert birth registered 1888 (J/F/M West Derby), Amy birth registered 1890 (J/F/M West Derby) and Arthur Acquila b. 24 September 1891 (O/N/D West Derby). By 1891 John was the manager of the North Shore Vaults public house, 118 Lyons Street, Bootle. In the home on the night of the census were his wife Lydia (29), their two children John (3) and Amy (1), and a general domestic servant, Jane McCarthy (16). There was also a visitor, Jane McKnight (60), a laundress. Their second son Arthur was born later that year. John Robert Williams died the year following Arthur's birth. He was buried on 27 June 1892 in the churchyard of St Mary, Bootle. The burial register included John's home address: 118 Lyons Street, Bootle. Less than two years later Lydia married John William Vert at St Augustine's church, Everton, Liverpool, on 14 January 1894 (J/F/M West Derby). John William (38) of 10 Gregson Street, Liverpool, was a widower and working as a warehouseman. Lydia (32) was living at 52 China Street. In 1901 John Vert, a gas fitter (labourer) and Lydia were living at 9 Margaret Road, Walton, Liverpool, with her three children, John (13), Amy (11) and Arthur (9). Also in the household was a boarder, Thomas Harvey (60), a widower, who was a mariner. The family was at the same address in 1911 but only John Albert (23) a butcher's assistant, and Amy (21) a dressmaker, were still at home. Arthur was working away from home as a domestic gardener at The Bothies, Warter Priory, York, where he was was accommodated with six other gardeners. Shortly after, Arthur used his horticultural skills to secure employment at the Welbeck estate, Nottinghamshire. He enlisted into the Sherwood Foresters at Welbeck along with other colleagues. His stepfather John William Vert died in 1925 (J/F/M West Derby) but his mother was still living at 9 Margaret Road, Liverpool, in 1939 when the England and Wales Register was compiled. She was described as a housekeeper, probably because there were two other people in the house who may have been lodgers or boarders, a married couple Albert Roberts (b. 25 February 1913) a grocer's manager and member of the Liverpool Auxiliary Fire Service, and Elizabeth Robert (b. 20 December 1912). Lydia died in 1941 (O/N/D Liverpool South Lancs) aged 82.
He was a domestic gardener, initially in York but later on the Welbeck estate.
09 Aug 1915
684493 - CWGC Website
Enlisted Welbeck.
9th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
Arthur Williams probably enlisted on 15 August 1914 and after training at Belton by Grantham the battalion moved south to the Aldershot area. The battalion sailed to Gallipoli via Lemnos in early July 1915 and landed at Suvla Bay on the night of 6/7th August 1915. Orders to move forward failed to materialise and the battalion were ordered to link with the ANZAC's and dig in. On 9th August, the attack went in and good ground was made until heavy fire was laid down by the enemy and the ground became almost impossible to move in. A satisfactory line was made but other units fell back causing enfilade fire on the battalion's flanks. The battalion came within feet of making its objective but had to fall back slightly. The battalion was decimated and Arthur was one of those killed although he was initially reported missing. Colleagues from the Welbeck estate served with the battalion and died in the same action. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Helles Memorial. John Morse
Registers of Soldiers' Effects: his mother, Lydia Vert, was his sole legatee. Mansfield Reporter, 10 September 1915: ‘Welbeck’s Heroes. Many Portland Estate Employees Fall. Sympathy of the Duke and Duchess. News has reached Welbeck of the death of a number of men who enlisted from the Duke of Portland’s estate, and most of whom are in the Sherwood Foresters. The battalion took part in the fight at Gallipoli, early in August and suffered severely. Among the dead are Lance-Corporal JH Michie, son of his Grace’s wood steward, and Privates William Johnson, Frank Fletcher, Everitt, and Cyril Hancock, all of whom were employed at Hunciecroft Paddocks and in the gardens. Private Arthur Williams is missing, and Private Hayes and Tom Milner are wounded. The sad news has come from Corporal Grant, one of the garden staff, to Mr J Gibson, the Duke’s head gardener. It is a touching letter, and it is easy to discern that it was written under a sense of great personal loss. Corporal Grant writes: ‘Dear Sir, I am writing to confirm the sad news I sent you of those who met their death on the -, It is more than sad to tell you that there is no doubt of the worst having happened to Jimmy Michie, Everitt (from Hunciecroft), Frank Fletcher, William Johnson, and Cyril Hancock. Arthur Williams is missing, and I fear the worst. I have tried several times to find tidings of him but have failed. Hayes from the stable, and Tom Milner are wounded in the legs and are on their way to England. The battle on the , when these men fell was terrible, and the regiment suffered severely, and if you could only have seen the heroism of many of the Welbeck men and others you would have felt more than proud of them. There is no doubt that their behaviour in face of almost certain death, and their coolness was a help to others. Poor lads, they were buried as near as possible where they fell, and a cross on each grave is now all that indicates their last resting place. They fell like heroes. God bless them. The report of Lance-Corporal Michie’s death is confirmed in a letter which Mr and Mrs Michie received from Sergeant Ward, of the 9th Battalion. ‘Just a line,’ he says, ‘to let you know how very sorry I am to inform you of your son’s death. But I am very pleased to say that he died a soldier’s death and was buried by his comrades and we placed a little wooden cross on his grave. He was shot through the heart, death being instantaneous. As you will see by the papers, the Battalion lost very heavily, your son being one of those killed. His loss will be felt by his comrades as he was as good a soldier as could be wished for. I hope you will excuse me taking the liberty of writing to you and letting you know. I can assure you that in your sad sorrow you have his comrades’ sympathy.’ The Duke and Duchess of Portland and members of the family have written to the relatives of the men, expressing sympathy and admiration of their heroism.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)
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  • 12573 Corporal Arthur Williams was killed in action on 9 August 1915 and is commemorated on the Helles Memorial. Visited, wreath laid and photograph taken by John Morse.
    Arthur Williams - 12573 Corporal Arthur Williams was killed in action on 9 August 1915 and is commemorated on the Helles Memorial. Visited, wreath laid and photograph taken by John Morse.