Arthur John FARMER
Rank: Sergeant
Number: 17877
Unit: 12th Battalion ROYAL SCOTS
Date of Death: 8 July 1916
Age: 36
Cemetery: Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France

The family history website, FreeBMD, records that Arthur's birth was registered at Birmingham in the first quarter of 1880. By 1901, the family was living in the Cheetham area of Manchester, where Arthur's father, 50 year old Thomas, worked as a cabinet maker. Arthur, then 21, was the oldest of four children at home. His younger siblings were Francis (17), Thomas (15) and Mary (6).

By the time of the Great War, Arthur is understood to have been married and was living in Blackley, Manchester. His wife possibly originated from the High Lane area and appears to have been living there after he joined up. Arthur's service number is fairly low and it may be that he was one of the original members of the Battalion who went overseas in May 1915.

1 July 1916 had seen the opening of the Battle of the Somme. Over most of the battlefield, British troops had failed in their attack. However, in the south of the area, the Pals Battalions of the Manchester & King's Liverpool Regiments had captured the village of Montauban. No Man's Land was now the 400-500 yards between the village and the new German line in Bernafray Wood.

On the 2/3rd, the Royal Scots attacked the Wood and captured it with ease. It had been lightly defended. The German troops had pulled back to prepared defences another 400 yards to the north east at Trones Wood.  Over the next few days, Arthur and his mates were subjected to heavy artillery shelling as the Germans knew another attack could be expected.

By the 8th, the men of the Liverpool & Manchester Regiments had regrouped and had received reinforcements for their casualties on the 1st. They were ready to take part in what would be the first of several attempts to wrest the Wood from the Germans

The Royal Scots were in support of the attack, giving covering fire with their light machine guns (Lewis guns). Sometime during the day, Arthur was killed, most probably by shellfire. His body was never recovered and identified.

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