Lance Corporal Arthur William Newsholme

A white circle with a glove crossing it's fingers and the words: Made Possible with Heritage Fund.This man is a candidate for addition to Keighley's Supplementary Volume under the proposal to add further names in 2024, the centenary of the original roll of honour.
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Supported by the National Lottery's Heritage Fund, our project intends to submit about 120 names for peer review to add them to the book which is kept at Keighley Library. The unveiling of the book with it's new names is planned for November 2024, 100 years after the unveiling of the original war memorial.


Lance Corporal. 16th Bn. West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales's Own) Service Number: 16/781.

Early life:

Arthur's parents were Arthur Wright Newsholme and Agnes Newsholme née Smith. They were married in 1890 at Beverley in the East Riding of Yorkshire.
In the 1891 census they were living at 117, New Cross Street in Bradford. Arthur aged 31, was an assistant dress stuff manufacturer. Agnes was aged 30. (this house still exists today.)
Arthur William was born in Bradford later that year and his birth was registered at Bradford in the third quarter of the year.

By 1901 they had moved house. Arthur William was aged nine and living with his mother Agnes aged 40 at Stonegate Cottage, off Stonegate Road in Leeds.
They don't appear to be living here and Arthur's father is absent. This appears to be the family home of widowed Ann Elizabeth Julian and her four children. Ann is the sister of Agnes.

They appear to have moved to Keighley by 1905 and were resident at 16, Drake Street for at least three years. This is likley to be the period in which Arthur attended Keighley Boys Grammar School. He would have been aged 13 in 1905.

In the 1911 census Arthur William was living with his parents at 2, Temple Rhydding in Baildon.
Arthur Wright was aged 51 and Agnes aged 49. His father was an employer and dyer of Ladies dress materials
They had been married for 20 years and Arthur was their only child aged 19 and assisting in his father's business. They also had a domestic servant, Alice Tasker, aged 18.

War service:

Arthur enlisted at Bradford with the first Bradford Pals Battalion which was the 16th Service Battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment, raised by the Lord Mayor and City of Bradford in September 1914. They became part of the 93rd Brigade, 31st Division and in December 1915 they went out to Egypt. In March 1916 they moved to France. The battalion was disbanded in France in February 1918.

From medal records we can see that Arthur entered the Egypt war theatre with the Bradford Pals Battalion on 22nd December 1915 and served there protecting the Suez Canal at Kantara (El-Qantara) for a period of about two months. They then travelled to Marseilles in March 1916 and up to the Somme region where they took part in the Battle of the Somme in July 1916. Arthur survived that period and was serving near Hebuterne in France when he was killed in action on 27th February 1917.
He was buried in Owl Trench Cemetery in row A. This is about two miles East of Hebuterne in France, very close to the minor road which runs to the South West of Rossignol Wood. This cemetery is rather small and has just 53 graves. Row A is actually a mass grave of 46 men, of whom 43 are from the 16th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment. Ten men of the 53 buried here are unidentified.

The area in which Arthur was serving when he was killed can be seen in the tranch maps provided by the National Library of Scotland:

Sheet 57D.NE. Scale, 1:20000. Edition, 3A. Published: 1916. Trenches corrected to 20 October 1916.


War diary entry for February 1917:

The war diary WO-95/2362/1 page 133 contains a list of the men of A, B and C Companies who were killed on 27th February 1917. This includes 16/781 Lance Corporal A. W. Newsholme.
This is the attack in which Arthur was killed:

BAYENCOURT. 26/2/17:
Draft of 43 other ranks joined Battlaion from 33rd Infantry Base depot and taken on strength.
Battalion moved into the line again. (HEBUTERNE SECTOR) to take part in operations against the enemy who were known to be evacuating their position.
HEBUTERNE. 26/2/17 and 27/2/17.
The Battalion made an attack on ROSSIGNOL WOOD on 26/27th inst., starting at 6.30 am.
Two companies were attacking and two companies in support. The Battalion suffered heavy casualties from machine gun fire, High Explosive and Shrapnel (A full report has not been officially made.)

A later report did appear in the war diary, unsigned, but possibly by Major Kennedy, and gives details of the attack:

I beg to report on the Attack made by the Battalion under my Command, on ROSSIGNOL WOOD on 26th 27th Feb. 1917.
On the evening of the 26th. February I received orders that the Battalion under my Command was to carry out an Attack on ROSSIGNOL WOOD at 6.30 a.m. on the morning of the 27th, two Companies to form the firing line with two Companies in support.
The two front Companies were ordered to be clear of a line of Posts on the GOMMECOURT - PUISIEUX ROAD at 6.30 a.m.
I sent forward my 2nd. in Command, Signalling Officer, Medical Officer and Intelligence Officer to take up a position at the CRUCIFIX.
A line was laid to my Headquarters at WOMAN STREET where I was kept in touch with the Companies taking part in the Attack.
I sent forward with my left Company my Lewis Gun Officer with 4 Guns to take up a position on the SUNKEN ROAD, to cover the advance and to open fire if a favourable target presented itself. I afterwards sent forward two other Lewis Guns.
The two Companies were clear of the enemy third line about 5.30 a.m. and deployed to attack in No Mans Land, and moved forward about 6 a.m. with scouts well in advance.
The first report received from the scouts was that the Southern edge of the Wood was occupied. The Officer Commanding the Left Company sent one platoon to move up towards PIONEER GRABEN and occupy the high ground. On reaching the trench the enemy immediately delivered a counter attack and drove them back towards the CRUCIFIX.
My 2nd in Command sent forward a Bombing Party to attack the enemy, they succeeded in killing one and wounding others and drove them back 150 yards, established Blocks in MOLTKE GRABEN, PIONEER GRABEN and a Bombing Post at the junction of these trenches.
The remainder of the Left Company moved forward and some men got into the Wood, the remainder dug themselves in, in STUMP ALLEY and PIONEER GRABEN, South W. of the CRUCIFIX.
At 11 a.m. seeing my Left Company did not make much headway I sent forward two platoons from my reserve Companies, who assisted in consolidating the new positions taken.
This Company was under fire from about 6 a.m. and consolidated all positions taken and remained in them until relieved at night.
My Right Company pushed forward to the Southern edge of the Wood and entered by the trenches. The enemy opened heavy machine gun fire which enfiladed these trenches, and killed, wounded, and made practically the whole of these three platoons casualties, the fourth platoon took cover in shell holes in the open, and rejoined the Battalion at night. The Company Commander and 2nd in Command are missing, two platoon Commanders were wounded, one, 2/Lieut. Tucker, managed to get out of the Wood and reported himself to me at 10 p.m. at night.
morning.
No message reached me from this Company after 6 a.m. in the
I sent my two Vickers Guns to take up a position in the enemy third line.
The Vickers and Lewis Guns greatly assisted in keeping down enemy fire, and were in position about 42 hours.
On the night of the 27th. I relieved the Companies in the front line, sent forward rations and water, 10 boxes of S. A. A. and 10 boxes of bombs.
I did not employ my L.T.M., they were unable to reach the objective, being out of range.


Post war:

Locally, Arthur is not named on any public war memorial or roll of honour that we are aware of. He was definitely an old boy of Keighley Boys Grammar School and he is named on page nine of the November 1918 issue. He is number 82 in their roll of honour.

He was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal for his war service. These would have been sent to his father as his next of kin. He would also have received any personal effects plus a bronze war memorial plaque and King's certificate inscribed with Arthur's name.

The soldier's effects records shows that his father Arthur Wright Newsholme received a payment of £12 4s 0d on 2nd July 1917. He also received a war gratuity of £11 on 16th December 1918. This amount can be used to roughly calculate his date of enlistment which was in September 1914, confirming he was one of the early volunteers for the Bradford Pals.

No pension card has been found, so it's likely that his parents did not apply for a dependant's pension.

His father Arthur Wright Newsholme died on 18th October 1935 aged 75 and his death was registered in Knaresborough. His mother Agnes was living at 109, Wetherby Road, Harrogate in the 1939 register. She died on 9th February 1949 aged 88.

Information sources:

England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915
1891 England Census
England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915
1901 England Census
West Yorkshire, England, Electoral Registers, 1840-1962
The Keighlian Magazine
1911 England Census
Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919
Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929
British Army World War I Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920
World War I Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920
National Archives - War diary WO-95/2362/1
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Find A Grave.com
General Registry Office - British Armed Forces And Overseas Deaths And Burials
Bradford Pals 1914-1918
Arthur William Newsholme in 1917
British Newspaper Death & In Memoriam Notices
England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007
England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995
1939 England and Wales Register

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