Date of birth: c1910
Parents: William John and Annie Williams
Wife: Lottie Evelyn Russell
Address: 73 Wathen Road, Warwick
Occupation: Worked at Warwick Aviation Company
Arthur was born in 1910 in Rowington near Warwick. His parents were William John and Annie Williams (nee Dodd).
In 1911 the family were living in Lowsonford and Arthur’s father was a gardener. Arthur had four siblings Charles (1909), Ida (1912-1995), Cissie (1920-1986) and John Henry Jack (1923-1975).
Arthur came to live in Warwick in 1925 and married Lottie Evelyn Russell (known as Eve) in 1933 in Warwick.
Arthur and Eve had two daughters, Frances and Josephine. Frances, was born in Budbrooke Barracks medical centre in 1933 and Josephine was born in 1935.
Frances, married Leslie Wilson (1914-1995) and they had a son Carl Wilson. Following a feature in The Courier on Friday 29th May 2020 which gave details of the massacre at which Arthur was killed , Carl, Arthur’s grandson, got in touch with us “I didn’t know anything about this incident. I thought he’d just been killed in the war. I couldn’t believe it when I read the piece in the paper that said he had been murdered by the SS”. He said he thinks his grandfather had joined the Warwicks in 1933 as a professional soldier.’
In 1943 Lottie remarried – to Joseph Maunder. Lottie died in 2014 aged 94.
Rank & Number: Private, 808408
Regiment/Service: 2nd Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
Brigade/Division: 144th Infantry Brigade, 48th (South Midland) Division
Date of death: 27th May 1940
Cause of death/Battle: Murdered by the SS in the barn massacre at Esquelbecq
Commemorated/Buried: Buried in Esquelbecq Military Cemetery, Nord, France. Sp. Mem. 3. F. 17-24.
Commemorated locally at:
Arthur enlisted in the 2nd Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment in 1931 and served for 7 years, leaving in 1938 to work at the Warwick Aviation Company. At the outbreak of war, he was called up as a reservist.
The massacre at Esquelbecq is well documented. The 2nd Warwickshires were holding off the Germans and enabled the evacuation of over 338,000 men. The survivors were captured by the SS, led by Captain Mohnke, who took them to a barn where they were beaten and murdered. This news did not reach the soldiers’ families for some time, as this item in the Warwick Advertiser from 5 months later shows. He is buried in Nord, France:
Read more about the massacre:
- Unlocking Warwick Research Group
- Warwick Advertiser excerpt courtesy of Warwickshire County Record Office
- Carl Wilson, Arthur’s Grandson