Southam in WW1

Centenary Archive

Honouring those who died and all who served


Private Arthur Devenport (21118)

Alfred senior returned home to the devastating news that his second son had died within ten days of his eldest son.  Arthur John was born in October 1893 and he was a married man, just twenty-two years old when he died. Before enlisting with 6th Battalion Royal Leicester Regiment, Arthur was working as a manservant in Leicester. He was married to Elizabeth Alice and she is pictured in the following pages of this archive with her husband; they were a handsome couple.

During the Battle of the Somme very early in the morning of July 14th in an action along a ridge that ran from Longueval to Bazentin le Petit, the Leicesters suffered heavy losses. Many of the men were killed by artillery barrage and heavy gun fire as they crossed No-Man’s Land. When they reached the German trenches they came under enfilade fire and repeated counter-attacks from bombers throwing hand grenades but the Leicesters held and consolidated their positions. They were relieved on July 17th but over half of the Battalion, some 500 men were reported killed, wounded or missing. Arthur Devenport is one of those whose body was never identified. He is named on the Thiepval Memorial.

Elizabeth wrote to his senior officer about his death and a copy of the reply is reproduced below together with a picture of him looking immaculately smart in his uniform. Elizabeth also had this in memoriam card printed.

Pictured here are (back row): Alfred William, Annie Louisa and Arthur John,
(standing by their parents): Albert Henry, Alice Mary (centre), and Alan George standing behind Amy Helen.
Seated parents: Alfred and Louisa.