Altrincham WW1 

Arthur Rhodes

Ship/Rgn/Sqn No:07th Bn
Name of Rgt or Ship:Durham Light Infantry
How Died:Killed in Action
Country of burial:BelgiumGrave Photo:Yes
Cemetery or Memorial:Bedford House Cemetery, Zillebeke
Town Memorial:Marple
Extra Information:
Born during the March quarter 1895 in the Nantwich R.D. - ref: 8a/366, the
son of Frank Septimus & Katherine Rhodes (nee Dent).

1901 Census - "Claremont", Station Road, Marple, Cheshire.   Son - aged: 5
- born: Marple.   Head of household - Frank S. Rhodes - Married - aged: 38
- occ: Solicitor and Commissioner of Oaths - born: Cheetham, Manchester.   
Also - Katherine Rhodes - Wife - aged: 33 - born: Coverdale, Yorkshire.  
Plus 1 younger sister and 2 domestic servants.   

1911 Census - Redlands, Marple, Cheshire.   Son - aged: 15 - Scholar -
born: Marple.   Head of household - Frank Septimus  Rhodes - Married -
aged: 48 - occ: Solicitor - born: Manchester.    Also - Katherine Rhodes -
Wife - aged: 43 - born: Carlton in Coverdale, Yorkshire.  Plus 1 younger
sister, 1 visitor and 1 domestic servant.

WO374/57075 - Probate was granted to his father at the Principal Registry
Office (London) on the 5th May 1917.  His address was given as Redlands,
Marple, Cheshire.  His Estate was valued at £72. 0s. 6d.   His father's
address was 12a Withy Grove, Manchester.  Promoted from 2nd Lieutenant to
Lieutenant on the 3rd October 1916.   

MIC - states that he first served at a 2nd Lieutenant in the 7th Bn. Durham
Light Infantry, later promoted to Lieutenant.  He was posted to France on
the 19th April 1915 and was awarded the 15 Star, the BWM & the VM.

The following has been taken from John Hartley's excellent website -
"Stockport 1914-1918".

Arthur was educated at Stockport Grammar School.  In about 1912, he joined
the Manchester University Officer Training Corps and was on exercises with
the Corps on Salisbury Plain immediately prior to War being declared on 4
August 1914.  With conflict imminent, Arthur was one of a number of cadets
asked to take a commission.  He could not agree immediately as he was
articled as a trainee solicitor to his father's practice and he had to get
the permission of the Law Society. This was quickly granted, of course, and
he received his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 7th Battalion the
following month.

The 7th was a pre-war Territorial unit and was brought up to fighting
strength by new recruits amongst the officers and men.  It took time for
them to become a cohesive fighting force and the Battalion did not go
overseas until 20 April 1915. Their first month was spent on work behind
the lines - digging trenches, carrying stores and the like. 

However, on 21 May, they moved into the front line for the first time. So
they could be "shown the ropes" by more experienced troops, "A" and "B"
Companies were attached to a battalion of the Royal Fusiliers. "C" and "D"
were similarly attached to the Middlesex Regiment. It would prove to be a
baptism of fire for the men of "A" and "B".

The Stockport Advertiser later published a letter from his father which
purported to give an account of the days prior to Arthur going into the
trenches. "For ten days, the Regiment was under fire and during the period
he had several narrow escapes from injury.  He had 2 bullets through his
coat, one of his puttees was ripped off by a shrapnel bullet and was nearly
poisoned by a gas bomb which exploded near to him and piece of shrapnel
bounced off his head." It seems somewhat unlikely that Arthur could have
had such an adventurous time supervising his men digging trenches well to
the rear.

The Germans had launched a major attack on the British positions around the
Belgian town of Ypres on 22 April, using poison gas for the first time in
history.  A month later the battle was still raging and, although they had
not significantly broken through the British line, the Germans generally
had the upper hand. 

At 3.00 am on the 24th, the Germans launched another gas attack, followed
by an artillery bombardment and then the infantry assaulted the British
lines.  The Battalion's War Diary has scant details but notes that the two
companies with the Royal Fusiliers were forced to retreat under the
pressure (the other two had been relieved from the front line the previous
day). There were later reports in the press that the orders to withdraw
never reached the Durham men and that they then found themselves cut off.
However, this does not seem to be borne out by the official records or

At some point, Arthur was shot. The Stockport Advertiser, in its edition of
23 July, said "The last that was seen of Lt. Rhodes by British soldiers was
by three privates who have been interviewed who saw him lying in the open
and he was not supposed to be seriously wounded.  The Germans were coming
on in great numbers and when some British soldiers wanted to stay with Lt.
Rhodes he said no, they must go.  The Germans were surrounding the British
position so those who could, escaped.  The Germans took many prisoners that
day and it is known that they treated them well.  So, it is expected that
Lt Rhodes is a prisoner of war in Germany." 

Throughout 1915, there were constant reports that Arthur was, indeed, a
prisoner and the Stockport Advertiser reported in December that the neutral
Spanish Embassy in Holland had confirmed he was a captive. It was all
rumour.  Arthur had died that day and had probably been buried by the
advancing Germans.  Or, possibly, his body may have remained unburied in
what quickly became No Man's Land again and may not have been discovered
until the front moved forward again.

Further newspaper reports and a photograph of Arthur can be found in the
book "Remembered", by P Clarke, A Cook and J Bintliff.

Memorials found on:
Wadham House School (Hale)
Manchester University
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