James Arthur ARDEN
Rank: Private
Number: 17668
Date of Death: 6 September 1916
Age: 25
Cemetery: Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Poperinge, Belgium

Arthur’s age is wrongly given as 30 in the on-line records of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. His correct age of 25, when he died, is confirmed by press reports and his entry on then 1901 Census (which then recorded him as being 10).

Arthur had lived all his life in the Stockport area. He was married to Annie and lived at 10 Port Street, off Princes Street in the town centre. They had one child. His parents lived at 8 or 9 Sykes Street, Reddish. He worked for the Great Central Railway at the Company’s Gorton locomotive building works.

He enlisted into the army in January 1915. Regimental records, published after the War, indicate Arthur was killed outright. However, there must be some doubt about that. The village of Lijssenthoek was well behind the front lines of the Ypres Salient and was not even in range of the German’s heaviest artillery. As a safe area, it was a centre for several field hospitals and Arthur’s burial here suggests he died of wounds (as reported in the Stockport newspaper of the time).

The Battalion’s War Diary perhaps serves only to confuse matters. It records that, on the 6th, the men were working improving the defences in Monmouth and New Trenches. It states “Work interrupted by enemy MG (machine gun) fire. Casualties 1 man killed, 1 wounded.” An examination of the records published after the War shows that one man (Private Adam Scott) was killed on the 7th, yet there is no mention of this in the Diary.

It seems reasonable to conclude that Pte Scott was the man killed outright and, in fact, he is buried near to the front line. Arthur will have been the man wounded and will have been evacuated to hospital where he later died.

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