Shear, Arthur

Poppy on a wooden cross

Age: 46
Date of birth: 1st June 1870

Parents: John and Mary A Shear
Wife: Lily Shear
Address: 15 Guy Street

Occupation: Soldier

Arthur was baptised at St David’s in Birmingham on 13th June 1870.  At the time of the 1871 census, John and Mary Shear were living at 65 Townsend Street, Cheltenham with their three sons: John (4), William (3) and Arthur (10 months). John was from Cheltenham and Mary was from Cirencester. All three children are recorded as having been born in Birmingham, although in the 1911 census Arthur gives his place of birth as Cheltenham. John was working as a porter.

At the time of the 1881 census, John Snr and John Jnr are living with John’s mother at 64 Townsend Street. There is no mention of Mary or the other two sons and No 65 is occupied by another family.

Arthur served in the army from 1889 to 1910. His service records that his wife, Lily was “taken on strength” in October 1989 and that they had six children during that time: George Arthur (20/9/1899), Edward Frederick (19/03/1901), Lillian Eileen Maud (12/12/1904), Grace Beatrice (5/4/1907), Percival William (11/02/1903, deceased) and Frank William (2/10/1908)

At the time of the 1911 census Arthur and Lily were living at Melbourne Cottages, 15 Guy Street, Warwick with their five surviving children. Arthur is recorded as an army pensioner.

Arthur Shear’s death was recorded in the Roll of Honour in the Warwick Advertiser on 2nd December 1916, alongside another from the same unit, Arthur Boyles.  They died at the Battle of Ancre within two days of one another.

Lily died in 1929 and is buried at the Birmingham Road cemetery (photo below). On her grave, Arthur was also remembered. The inscriptions read:

In loving memory of our dear mother Lily Shear, died June 15th 1929 age 49 years.
Also our dear father RSM Arthur Shear killed in France Nov 14th 1916 age 45 years

Military Service

Rank & Number: Regimental Sergeant Major, 3562
Regiment/Service: 11th (Service) Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
Brigade/Division: 112th Brigade, 37th Division
Date of death: Tuesday, November 14, 1916
Cause of death/Battle: Killed in Action - Battle of the Ancre
Commemorated/Buried: Euston Road Cemetery, Somme
Awards: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
Commemorated locally at: St Nicholas Church

Arthur initially signed up with the Warwickshire Regiment on 4th January 1889. His attestation papers describe him as 18 years 6 months, 5′ 4″ with a fresh complexion, grey eyes and dark brown hair. His trade prior to enlistment was Baker.

Arthur served in India from November 1990 to December 1991 and then in Ceylon until March 1896. After a couple of years at home he was posted to Malta in February 1899 and then to Malta again in October 1902. He returned home in October 1903 and remained there until finishing his period of service.

Arthur was appointed a Lance Corporal in 1891, a full corporal in 1894, a Lance Sergeant in 1895 and a full sergeant in 1897. On his record there is a note in May 1900 that Arthur was “permitted to re-engage to complete 21 years with the colours”. In 1901 he was promoted to Colour Sergeant. He was awarded a long service and good conduct medal and discharged on 3rd January 1910 as the termination of his second period of engagement.

This piece appeared in the Warwick Advertiser on 23rd October, 1915, detailing a letter sent from Sergeant Shear to the Mayor of Warwick

Sgt Shear 23rd October 1915 - letter to Mayor of Warwick


  • Unlocking Warwick Research Group
  • Warwick Advertiser excerpt courtesy of Warwickshire County Record Office

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