Arthur W Pearce
1886 – 1914
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.
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.
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.