Rank: Lance Corporal
Number: 50057
Unit: 96th Field Company ROYAL ENGINEERS
Date of Death: 4 September 1916
Cemetery: Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France

It has not been possible to establish the correct spelling of Arthur's surname. The Stockport War Memorial records it as above, as does one o the newspaper obituaries. However, army records and those of the War Graves Commission have it as Dickinson.

He was married and lived at 46 Edward Street, Stockport with his wife and two children. His mother lived not far away at 40 Soudan Road. Arthur worked, as a painter, for a Mr Faulkner of Great Moor and, when he decided to join the army not long after War broke out, his craft skills were recognised as those needed by the Royal Engineers.

The strength of a Field Company was around 200 men and most, like Arthur, would have been tradesmen in civilian life. The Company's usual role was in construction and maintenance, although the men had first been trained to fight and were all issued with a rifle. Immediately after an attack, they would help with the consolidation of captured trenches, constructing new strong points and helping to repair the defences.

On 3 September, the infantry were to attack German positions at Guillemont, as part of the on-going Battle of the Somme. Several attempts had been made and it was now the turn of the 20th (Light) Divison. The Field Company was deployed with No. 1 Section in Arrow Head Trench; No. 2 in Sherwood trench; and Nos. 3 and 4 in Liverpool Trench.

"Zero hour" was set for midday and No. 1 Section advanced with the final line of infantry to captured positions in two sunken roads, where they made strongpoints and erected barbed wire in front of them. No. 2 Section also advanced and made strongpoints in the village itself. Nos. 3 and 4 advanced to the second and third objectives on the far side of the village and completed their tasks. The attack had been a success - Guillemont was taken and secured.

The next day, the Company reformed and dug a new trench at the second line objective, south east of the village and, in the evening, moved forward again to consolidate further captured positions near the village cemetery.

The Company's War Diary records that, over the two days, 4 men had been killed and a further two (including Arthur) posted as missing. All six had, in fact, been killed. The deaths of the six have been officially recorded as taking place, on 4 September, although it seems most likely that at least some most have occurred during the actual attack.

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