Private, Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment) 2nd/6th Bn. Service number 4979.
Arthur was born on the 15th April 1895 at Cross Roads and baptised at St. John's Church at Ingrow, with the baptismal record also being copied at St. James' Church, Cross Roads. Arthur's parents were William and Janet Hutchinson née Casson and they had been married the previous year. When Arthur was born they were living at Lees. Arthur's father was a mechanic, the same as his grandfather Edwin.
In 1901 Arthur was five and the family was living at a small terraced house at 3, Eagle Street, Lees and he had a sister called Irene May. Their father William was employed as a Mill Mechanic and Iron Turner, probably at Lees Worsted Mill which was just a short walk from their home. Mum would have been doing the very important job of keeping home and bringing up the children.
By 1911 the family had moved house a short distance to a slightly larger two bedroom end terrace house at 109, Hebden Bridge Road. Arthur was 15 and still living with his parents and sister Irene aged 13, although the family had grown quite a bit by then. Their siblings were Phyllis (nine), Edwin (four), Nellie and George, (both one) and a very young baby Harry aged just four months. Janet clearly had her work cut out with seven children. William was still employed as a mechanic and iron turner at a worsted mill, Harry and Irene would have been contributing to the household budget as they were both doffers in a spinning department, more than likely at Lees Mill.
Arthur had been in Wakefield Sanatorium for three months in August 1914 although no specific reason for this is given. He was employed as a tramway conductor when he enlisted in the Army on 31st January 1916 when he was 20 years and ten months old. After just over a month waiting in the reserve at home, he was mobilised on 10th March with the 2/6th West Riding Regiment, but he was sent to hospital just ten days later. In his service records there are references to the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (no. 1593) and the Machine Gun Corps (no. 4032), but he may not have actually served with either regiment.
On 24th May 1916, Arthur was relegated to the Class B Army Reserve although he was described as 'Not being likely to become an efficient soldier on medical grounds' . He appears to have remained with the reserve for almost two years until 6th February 1918 when a statutory order was issued for him to present himself for a medical examination. He was discharged as permanently unfit with 'Pulmonary Tuberculosis,' signed by Lieutenant Colonel Dr. William Scatterty, who was the commanding officer of Morton Banks War Hospital in Keighley.
He was recommended for sanatorium treatment which may have been carried out at the original sanatorium building on the hillside above the Morton Banks War Hospital. Although his name is not recorded in the war hospital patients register, he may have been just an outpatient.
His discharge paper describes the tuberculosis as 100% and 'aggravated by ordinary military service,' and there was little hope for a meaningful recovery, when he was discharged 'No longer physically fit for war service.'
Arthur died of tuberculosis in his home at 6, Haworth Road, Brow on 8th December 1918 and his father William signed as his next of kin. It's likely all the family were present when he died.
The death certificate describes him as an Army pensioner and tramway conductor and gives the cause of death as 'Pulmonary Tuberculosis.' He was only 23 years old and was buried in the family grave at Haworth Cemetery on Penistone Hill, section A, grave 3.
Arthur's details were submitted for consideration to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in February 2019 and he was accepted as a casualty of war because a link to his war service was established as the cause of his death. It is quite likely Arthur had suffered with tuberculosis for many years and may even have contracted it whilst working in the mills several years before the war. Arthur's name recorded on the Cross Roads War Memorial.
England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915
British Army Pension Records
Western Front Association - Pension Cards
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission Records
England and Wales Death Records
The Keighley News archives at Keighley Library
Some of this research has been carried out by Mick Hey and Tito Arana of Cross Roads.