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damsell1Arthur was born on the 10th August, 1891 and was christened at St James the Less Church in Ashted, Warwickshire. His father was Edward George Damsell a Private in the 14th (Kings) Hussars and his mother was Eliza Clarke (nee Glazier).

Arthur`s mother Eliza had previously been married to George Clarke who was also a Private in the 14th Kings Hussars. Eliza had married her first husband George in 1875 in Colchester. They had three children together, the first was George born in 1876 in Colchester. The next two children were both born in India, Beatrice Louisa in 1879 and then Alfred William in June, 1882. George Clarke died on 24 February, 1882 at Trimulgherry Fort, Madras four months before Alfred William was born.

Edward George Damsell was single when he enlisted with the 14th Kings Hussars at the age of 18 in January, 1871. He was with the Regiment when they departed England for Bombay on the 4 January, 1876.

On the 29th January, 1883 Edward George Damsell married the recently widowed Eliza Clarke in the Holy Trinity Church, Bolarum, Madras. The couple then had their first child Albert Edward, who was born in India in March, 1884.

Edward returned to England with Eliza, son Albert Edward and his three step children on the 24th November, 1886 when he was apparently suffering from some sort of fever which was said to have been brought on by the climate. He had spent nine years in India and one year in South Africa with the Regiment.

Seven months after returning home a daughter Victoria Violet was born in Shorncliffe, Kent. Another son Charles arrived born in Brighton, Sussex in 1889 and finally Arthur was born in Ashted near Birmingham in 1891.

Arthur`s father Edward was still serving with the 14th Kings Hussars when Arthur was born, the address on his baptism record gives the family address of The Cavalry Barracks, Great Brook Street, Ashted, Warwickshire.

In September, 1891 there appears to have been some sort of accident in the shooting gallery at the Barracks and Arthur`s father was shot in both thighs which resulted in him spending sixty five days in hospital. A Court of Enquiry concluded that it was accidental. Edward was finally discharged on the 19th January, 1892 having served 21 years with the 14th Kings Hussars.

At some point after his discharge the family moved to Preston and in 1901 they were living at 19 Havelock Street. Arthur`s father had found work as a labourer in a Bobbin works. George was working as a coachman, Beatrice as a laundress, Alfred was an apprentice corn miller and Albert a cabinet maker.

Sadly, Arthur`s father Edward died in Preston in 1910 and the following year when the Census was taken Eliza was still living at Havelock Street with daughter (Victoria) Violet and sons Charles and Arthur. Charles was employed by Preston Corporation as a tram conductor and Arthur had gone to work for the GPO as a Postman.

Arthur was still working as a Postman when he enlisted at Preston on the 28 February, 1916. He was allocated the number 27612. Unfortunately his service papers appear to have been destroyed so we cannot be certain when he embarked for France. The 10th Battalion left England at the end of July 1915 so Arthur would have been sent over to France with a batch of reinforcements at some point after he enlisted in February 1916 and then posted to the 10th Battalion.

On the 21st February, 1918 the 10th Battalion was disbanded, the men being drafted into the 15th Entrenching Battalion.

On the first day of the German Spring Offensive, Operation Michael (21st March, 1918) the 15th Entrenching Battalion were involved in the defense of the TERGNIER to QUESSY line. It was in this area that Arthur was captured and taken prisoner on the 22nd March, 1918.

The first indications of his whereabouts are in the Prisoner of War records which say that on the 20 June, 1918 he was in Skalmierschutz POW Camp in Poland. This was a very large camp and was first used for Russian and Romanian prisoners but from early 1918 they also took British and American prisoners of war.

After arriving in the camp Arthur was able to send a postcard home to his family to let them know where he was and the following article was printed in the Preston Guardian. This also mentions the fact that he was wounded when he was captured.


By the 30 September, 1918 he had been moved to Sprottau POW camp which was also in Poland. This camp also had a Lazarett (infirmary) which was used for prisoners with TB but it is not known whether Arthur had this condition.

Signaller Arthur Damsell did make it back home to his family in Preston. He was finally discharged from the Army on the 8 March, 1919 and was awarded the Silver War Badge with the number B.189349. He was also awarded the British War and Victory Medals for his services to his country.

On the 24 June, 1919 Arthur married Annie Dunn at the Moor Park Methodist Church in Preston but sadly Annie died in Preston in 1925.

In 1933 Arthur remarried to Ann Fiddler at Penwortham Methodist Chapel. His home address was at 20 Leyland Road, Penwortham near Preston when he passed away in April 1945 at the age of 54.

Additional family information

213590 Private Charles John Harold Damsell, RFA. Charles enlisted 10/12/15 and was mobilised on 5/2/17. He served in France and he survived the war and was discharged in December 1919. Married to Ada Chamberlain in Preston on 31 August, 1911. Awarded the British War and Victory Medals. Died on 23 January, 1945, home address was 36 Holme Slack Lane, Preston.

T4/216587 Private Albert Edward Damsell, Army Service Corps. Married to Ellen McGrath at English Martyrs Church, Preston in 1909. Went to France in 1916 and he survived the war and was demobilised in November, 1919. Awarded the British War and Victory Medals. Died in Preston in August, 1945.

Janet Davis
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One Response to 27612 PTE. A. J. DAMSELL. L.N.LAN.R

  1. Michael Gorman says:

    I am the grandson of the Beatrice Louisa (Clarke) mentioned in this abstract. She married my grandfather William George Gorman in 1901 in Preston. My late father Arthur (son of Beatrice and William) often talked about his Uncle George and Uncle Arthur and somewhere in his effects I have postcards sent home from France during the first world war.

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