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Arthur W Pearce

1886 – 1914

Arthur was born in Baughurst in early 1886, to Charles and Elisabeth Pearce, and he was the third of what became seven children. In 1891 his father was a grocer’s porter and they lived in Vernham Row, Baughurst Road, but by 1901 the family had moved to Chitty Farm on Wall Lane in Silchester, where Charles was then working as a shepherd.

In 1904 Arthur enlisted with the 1st Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment, serving full time for 3 years, and then becoming a Reservist.

Arthur married Rose Anne Belcher in 1908, and they had a daughter, Beatrice Rose, the following year. They moved to The Pound where, by 1911, Arthur was working as a carter on one of the farms, whilst his father and youngest sister were living nearby in Pound Cottages.

Just after the outbreak of war, as a reservist, Arthur was recalled to his regiment, joining them in Aldershot, where they trained for a week before being inspected by the King and Queen on 11th August. They sailed the following day for France, from Southampton on the SS Mellifont and SS Ardmore, arriving in Rouen in the early hours of the following morning.

The next two and a half months was spent often on the move, as they crossed France and moved into Flanders in Belgium, with occasional contact with the enemy, resulting hostilities and a number of losses or injuries to the men. They arrived in Ypres on 20th October, joining other forces of the British Expeditionary Force and the French Army, just as the Germans launched a series of attacks on the Allied line. Arthur’s battalion, the1st Bn. Royal Berks., were active to the north and east of Ypres. German attacks were followed by Allied counter-attacks, and casualties were correspondingly heavy. The Germans launched a major offensive on 11th November, having brought up significant reinforcements. The Allied line was broken in the area close to the Ypres-Menin road but the Germans were unable to exploit this success. Fighting continued and it was just south of this road, in Herenthage Wood, we believe Arthur Pearce was killed on 13th November 1914 at the age of 28.

Arthur is remembered on the Menin Gate memorial in Ypres, along with 54,895 other British and Common- wealth soldiers who died in the battles around Ypres but whose graves are unknown.

Arthur was awarded three medals, namely the 1914 Star and Clasp, the WW1 British War Medal and the Victory Medal. These will have been sent to his wife Rose.