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Arthur Brotherton was born on the 25th December 1888 at 6 Cranbourne Street in Preston and he was the eldest child of Frederick and Elizabeth Brotherton (nee Richardson). Prior to their marriage at Emmanuel Church on Christmas Day 1886 Frederick Brotherton had been a ginger beer maker then later a delivery man of bottled mineral waters. After Arthur`s parents married they went to live at 7 Milner Street in Preston which still remains today running between St. George`s and St. Thomas` Road. Two years after Arthur`s birth, a daughter Elizabeth Jane was born in 1890 and then the Census of 1891 shows Arthur and his family still in Milner Street but his father Frederick was now a `beer bottler`. Another son arrived in 1893 and they named him Frederick after his father.

When the 1901 Census came around it shows the family had moved house again, now at 17 Edmund Street (demolished in the 1960`s) and then in 1904 another son Albert Edward arrived. Ten years later and the family had moved house again, this time their address was 60 Newton Street. Arthur`s father was a carter of mineral waters and his brother Frederick was working with him while Arthur was a loom oiler at a local mill and his mother was a weaver. Arthur was also a member of the Territorials having signed on in 1908 for four years` service with the 2nd Brigade West Lancs. R.F.A. The 1911 Census also records that Arthur`s parents had had 14 children born since their marriage in 1886 but of those only four had survived.

A couple of weeks after the 1911 Census was taken Arthur married Elizabeth Ellen Lewis on the 15th April at St Paul`s Parish Church in Preston after which they set up home at number 16 Homer Street, two streets away from his parents. At the time of their marriage Arthur was working at one of Hawkins cotton mills on St. Paul`s Road. Their first child was born on the 9th February 1912, a son and they named in Frederick.

Arthur attested into the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment on the 7th September 1914 and was issued with the service number 14271. His medical was carried out the same day and he was described as being five feet three and a half inches tall, his weight was measured at 116lbs and he had a dark complexion, brown hair and brown eyes. He also confirmed his occupation as a weaver and named his wife Elizabeth Ellen as his next of kin. Arthur passed his medical and was then posted to the Army Reserve. On the 26th September 1914 he was recalled from the reserve and was posted to the 9th Battalion LNL the same day. The 9th Battalion had been raised that September coming under the Command of the 74th Brigade of 25th Division. In December the Battalion moved to Christchurch and it was there that Arthur got his first taste of military discipline; he had turned up drunk for a 2pm parade, his punishment being 2 days F.P. No. 2 and the loss of 5 days’ pay.

In January of 1915 the Battalion moved to Southbourne and while they were there Arthur`s wife gave birth to their second child on the 26th May 1915, and she was named Elizabeth. The Battalion then moved on to Aldershot via Romsey in June of that year. On the 24/25th September 1915 the Battalion moved out of Blenheim Barracks at Aldershot and moved to Folkestone where they embarked for France aboard the “SS Seiriol”. After landing at Boulogne the Battalion then marched from the rest camp to Armentieres via Strazeale, Bailleul. At Armentieres the Battalion carried out trench fighting training until the 6th October 1915 after which they moved to le Le Bizet, moving into the reserve trenches covering the 11th Lancashire Fusiliers and 13th Cheshire Regiment. On the 12th October they finally moved into the front line trenches, a position they held until the 20th of October, during which time they lost their first two men killed in action.

Since Arthur`s first indiscretion with alcohol he had managed to steer clear of any more trouble, and as a result of this and no doubt also due to his pre-war Territorial experience he was promoted to Lance Corporal (unpaid) on the 25th January 1916 and by July of that year he had reached the rank of Sergeant. According to his papers he was wounded on the 3rd August 1916 but after treatment he re-joined his unit on the same day. Trench life was dogged by poor hygiene due to the unsanitary conditions the men were forced to endure, and a consequence of this was body lice infestations, a condition the medics referred to as `Pediculi` or Trench fever, a bacterial infection. Symptoms could vary depending on the individual, some men having minor headaches, sickness, fever and muscle pains, whilst others could be so badly affected they had to return to home for treatment, as did the famous writer J.R.R. Tolkien serving with the Lancashire Fusiliers. Unfortunately Arthur fell ill with this on the 12th August 1916 but after two days of treatment he returned to duty.

On the 1st October 1916 the Battalion War Diary records that the Battalion was in Brigade Reserve billets at Aveluy and then on the 5th October they went into the trenches in that area to relieve the 8th Battalion Border Regiment. Arthur was reported as having been killed in action five days later on the 10th October 1916. There are no details of any particular action recorded during this spell in the trenches and the only casualties mentioned are Officers so the circumstances of Arthur`s death are unknown.

His death was announced in the Preston Guardian;

Elizabeth Ellen Brotherton later received a pension of 25s/5d for herself and the two children with effect from 24th April 1917. Arthur`s papers do not state whether any of his personal effects were returned to his family.

After the war Elizabeth Ellen took receipt of her husband`s three medals, the 1915 Star and the British War and Victory Medals.

As Arthur`s body was never found and he has no known grave his name was later added to the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme. He is also remembered on the Roll of Honour in the Harris Museum and Library in Preston, a copy of the original submission form completed by his family is pictured below;

The original submission form to have his name recorded on the Harris Museum RoH

Rank: Serjeant
Service No: 14271
Date of Death: 10/10/1916
Age: 29
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, ‘B Coy’ 9th Bn.
Memorial: THIEPVAL MEMORIAL

Ron Crowe

Ron has had an interest in WW1 for most of his adult life, reading many books and accounts of the war. He has visited most of the western front on several occasions and visited the various museums, including the Verdun battlefield. He volunteered for the St Marys project at MoL, and having enjoyed the experience felt he would like to do more. These lost stories of old soldiers needs to be brought back to life both for relatives to see what their great grandfathers did, and the modern young generation to see the sacrifices made by them for them
Ron Crowe

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