VAD Arthur Blackwell

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Arthur Blackwell

Transport of Wounded and Hospital Duties

Born on 27th November 1858 in Newbury, Berkshire, Arthur Blackwell was the son of Thomas Blackwell, a brewer's labourer and Mary Ann Blackwell nee Dibley. He was one of at least seven children. His siblings were Martha (1847),  Thomas (1852), Elizabeth (1854), George (1857), Alfred (1862) and Edward (1865). (Siblings' years of birth are approximate according to census records).

In 1861 the family lived at Lewes Buildings in Newbury.

The Blackwell family on the 1861 census

In 1871 Arthur, despite being only 12 years old, was working as a farm labourer and appears to have lived where he worked at a farm in Kintbury, Berkshire. His parents were still alive and living in Newbury with his younger siblings.

Arthur shown as a farm servant in 1871

In 1881 Arthur had moved to Bolton in Bradford and was lodging with a family named Dixon. He was working as a signalman for Midland Railway.

On 21st May 1884 Arthur married Sarah Elizabeth Julian from Kirkby Stephen in Westmorland at the Parish Church in Bolton, Bradford. They moved to Bingley briefly before settling in Keighley.

Arthur and Sarah's marriage record

In 1891 they lived at 10 Ash Street. They had three children - Gilbert Edward (3), Marion (2) and Walter James (one month). Arthur's mother, widowed by then, was living with them.

By 1901 Arthur and Sarah had another daughter, Ellen. Gilbert was working as a telegraph messenger and Marion was a worsted spinner. They lived at 18 Plover Street.

The 1901 census

In 1911 they had moved to 3 Owl Street. It was documented here that Arthur and Sarah had three children who had died in infancy - they were Eva Mary (1885-1886), Mary Alice (1895-1899) and Thomas Arthur (1897-1899). Arthur was still working as a railway signalman, Gilbert was a postman, Marion a confectioner, Walter an iron merchant's clerk and Ellen a dressmaker.

Arthur worked at Spencer Street Auxiliary Hospital undertaking hospital duties as well as transporting wounded soldiers, from May 1916 until May 1919, as a corporal. Both of his sons were serving - Gilbert with the 9th Border Regiment and Walter with the Machine Gun Corps. Thankfully both survived and were awarded the British War and Victory Medals.

Some time later Arthur, Sarah and Marion moved to Heysham. On the 1939 Register they were living at 10 Balmoral Avenue. Arthur was a retired signalman by then.

The 1939 Register

He died during the second quarter of 1947, registered in Lancaster, at the age of 88.


England and Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915

1861 England Census

1871 England Census

1881 England Census

1891 England Census

1901 England Census

1911 England Census

West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1837-1935

UK, British Army WW1 Medal Roll Index Cards, 1914-1920

West Yorkshire, England, Electoral Registers, 1840-1962

1939 England and Wales Register

England and Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007




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