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War Memorials

In Memory of
Private 242383
2/6th Battn/Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby) Regiment
Who Died of Wounds on Monday, 24th April 1917
Age 27

Attenborough Churchyard, Nottinghamshire

Commemorated in Perpetuity
by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Remembered with Honour
Image to Follow
Attenborough Churchyard

Arthur Wright was born in Beeston, Notts in 18901, the second child, all sons, of Edward (b1862, Beeston) and Martha (née Pare, c1861, Chilwell, Notts) Wright. After their marriage in 1886, Edward and Martha lived at 9 Clinton Street, Beeston2 with Edward working as a lace designer and draughtsman and it was there that their first four sons - including Arthur as well as a pair of twins - were born. In about 1895, the family moved to Chilwell to live at West Gate - later to become Grove Avenue - where their other two sons were born and with Edward continued to work as a lace designer and draughtsman3. By 1911, Arthur had started work as a garment warehouseman4. In 1913, Arthur married Ida Ward and their only child, Constance Mary, was born later that year5.

Although his Army Service Record has not survived, it appears that Arthur enlisted somewhere around the middle of 19166. Arthur had not been amongst those who enlisted so enthusiastically in the early months of the war. By 1916, however, the number of men volunteering for service was diminishing and was not meeting the relentless demand from the Western Front and the Government was looking for ways to fill the gap. The Derby Scheme, which introduced canvassing for volunteers had still not persuaded the required numbers and the Military Service Act was now enacted which meant that all single men aged between 18 and 41 (with some exceptions) would be automatically conscripted with married men not included in this requirement until May. It appears that Arthur had enlisted accordingly, with the Sherwood Foresters and, after initial training, become part of 2/6th (Service) Battalion after it had returned from Ireland in January 1917. After final training at Fovant camp, on Salisbury Plain, the battalion embarked for France, landing at Boulogne on 25 February 1917 as part of 178 Brigade, 59th Division7.

On March 31, the battalion was in action around Bernes, in the Somme region of France, attacking in waves and coming under heavy hostile shell fire. The village of Vendelles was successfully carried and Veancourt was captured and prisoners taken8. Although no casualty numbers are mentioned in the war diary, it seems likely, that Private Wright was wounded during this attack - his first experience of fighting.

As a wounded man, Private Wright would have first been taken to the Regimental Aid Post just behind the front line where conditions were such that only basic wound dressing and first aid was possible. As a seriously wounded man, he would then be taken to an Advanced Dressing Station for further treatment in an area that was further behind the front line. From there, the more seriously wounded - such as Private Wright - would be moved - perhaps by horse-drawn transport - to a Field Ambulance - a mobile medical unit where medical officers and nurses were available to provide emergency treatment. The next step would be to move those needing further treatment to a Casualty Clearing Station where a full range of medical facilities were available. These units were positioned several miles behind the front line, usually close to railway lines or waterways so that onward evacuation could be made easier. From there, the most seriously wounded would be moved, by train or barge, to one of the base hospitals, probably one of the General Hospitals, near to the coastal ports. Where necessary, as in the case of Private Wright, a hospital ship would take the casualty across the Channel where an ambulance train would move him to one of the many military hospitals that had been set up, often in stately homes.

Thus, Private Wright was admitted to the military hospital that had been created at Woburn Abbey by Mary, Duchess of Bedford at the outbreak of war. It was housed in both the Woburn Cottage Hospital - which had been opened by the Duchess in 1898 - and in Woburn Abbey itself, with 102 beds in total. Duchess Mary herself took an active part, working as a nurse and maintaining the hospital for six years. By the time of Arthur's arrival, it had been appointed one of the special surgical military hospitals and received convoys of wounded men directly from France. In total, 2453 Non-commission officers and men were to pass through the hospital9. But, despite all efforts by the medical team, Private Wright died from his wounds10. His body was returned to Chilwell and he was buried in the churchyard at Attenborough where he his remembered on the family memorial stone.

Private Wright was posthumously awaited the Victory Medal and the British Medal11. His Army financial effects of 3 2s 5d were paid to his widow on 28 July 1917. His War Gratuity of 3 was paid to his aunt Alice Pare, as guardian of his infant daughter, on 28 January 192012.

Arthur's younger brother, Leonard Walter Wright also served with the Sherwood Foresters, was wounded, apparently in October 1916, and was consequently discharged as unfit for ongoing war service, in August 191713. On July 16 1917, Ida Wright, Arthur's widow died leaving their daughter, Constance Mary, an orphan. Happily, the child was taken in by Arthur and Alice Pare, Arthur's uncle and aunt, who lived in Park Road, Chilwell. But the tragedies continued when Edward, Arthur's father, died in October 1918, aged only 56, followed in February 1919, by Martha, Arthur's mother, aged 58. Ida, Edward and Martha are all buried, with Arthur, in the family grave in Attenborough churchyard14.

As well as being remembered on the memorial in Beeston Parish Church, Arthur is remembered on the memorials in St Mary's Church, Attenborough, Christ Church, Chilwell, in Chilwell Memorial Hall and a memorial at Woburn Abbey15.

1His birth was registered in Basford Registration District (of which Beeston was part) in Q1/1890 (Ref 7b 196). He was baptised at Attenborough church on 1 October 1893.
2Beeston, Notts : 1891 Census, Piece 2671 Folio 28.
3Chilwell, Notts : 1901 Census, Piece 3208 Folio 18. Arthur's siblings were Stephen Edward Vincent (1887-1975), Barton Wilfred (1894-1986), Wilfred Barton (b. 1894), Leonard Walter (1896-1946) and Albert (1900-1971).
41911 Census, Piece 20822 RD434 SD4 ED1 Sched 178. The house was then named 'The Cottage'.
5They married in Nottingham Registration District in Q2/1913 (Ref 7b 622). The birth of Constance Mary Wright was recorded in Nottingham Registration District in Q4/1913 (Ref 7b 76).
6The amount of his War Gratuity indicates that he had served for 12 months or less at the time of his death in April 1917.
7Details of 2/6th Battalion's deployment is from the Forces War Records website : www.forces-war-records.co.uk/units/319/sherwood-foresters-nottinghamshire-and-derbyshire-regiment .
8This account of the battalion's actions in March-April 1917 is based on its war diary.
9More about the Woburn Military Hospital is at www.woburnabbey.co.uk/abbey/abbey-today/blog/rcn-article-part-1 and at www.woburnabbey.co.uk/abbey/abbey-today/blog/woburn-cottage-hospital
10His death was recorded in Ampthill Registration District (of which Woburn was part) in Q2/1917 (Ref 3b 414)
11Details from Arthur's Medal Card and his entry in the Medal Rolls - available on ancestry.com.
12Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929, available on ancestry.com.
13Details from Leonard's Army Pension Record (available on ancestry.com)
14The dates of death are from the memorial stone which survives in Attenborough churchyard.
15A transcription of his entry on the Woburn memorial is at www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/name/295638 . It appears that the year of death is wrongly stated or transcribed.

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