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Neville, Arthur

Victory Medal
Victory Medal
British War Medal
British War Medal
Private Arthur Neville (G/12733)
Died of Wounds on Friday 7th December 1917
Battle of Cambrai, aged 31
Son of Frederick & Mary Neville
Father's occupation: Coachman
Born Q1 1886 at Hartley Wintney, Hants
3 sisters, 2 brothers, position in family: 1
Relatives: wife - Bertha (née West), m 23 May 1914
Local address: Oak Tree Cottage, Broadcommon, Hurst
Pre-war occupation: Roadman
Enlisted:Wokingham, Monday 12th June 1916
Regiment:The Buffs (East Kent)
Battalion:1st Bn.
Previous unit:G/24383, 9th Bn Berkshires
Went overseas:After 12/06/1916
Died:Friday 7th December 1917
Cause:Died of Wounds
Action:Battle of Cambrai
Battalion at:Gouzeaucourt
Commemorated:Grave at Metz-en-Couture Communal Cemetery British Extension

Arthur Neville was born in Hartley Wintney, Hants in 1886 to Frederick and Mary Neville. He was the oldest of six children and by the age of five was living in Eversley Street, Eversley where his father was a domestic coachman. In 1901 Arthur was living with his parents, three sisters and two brothers in Lyndridge, Eversley and was working as a bricklayer.

By 1911 Arthur was a lodger with the West family at 2 Ivy Cottage in Hinton Road. Three years later he married their daughter, Bertha, at St.Nicholas Church on 23rd May 1914.

During the First World War Arthur was working as a roadman and lived with his wife at Oak Tree Cottage in Broadcommon, Hurst. He registered for service in Wokingham on 6th December 1915 and was called up on 16th June 1916. Arthur was assigned to 9th Battalion of the Royal Berkshire Regiment for training and then joined 1st Battalion of the Buffs (East Kent Regiment).

It is not known when Arthur was sent to France, but by December 1917 he had joined the Buffs on the Western Front where they were involved in the Battle of Cambrai. The British offensive commenced on 20th November 1917 with massed tanks supported by infantry making gains of up to five miles and significantly breaching the Hindenburg Line for the first time. As the British advance faltered, the Germans launched an aggressive counter-attack on 30th November to recapture lost ground and the battle subsided in early December. The Battalion War Diary of the Buffs briefly describes the action and casualties in early December 1917:

1 Dec 1917 Gouzeaucourt
The Battalion remained at DEADMAN's CORNER for 2 hours and then moved back into the main HINDENBURG system.
2 Dec 1917
1 OR Killed, 1 OR Wounded, 1 OR Died of wounds, Missing 3 OR (since reduced to one)
3 Dec 1917
On the night of the 3rd the Battalion moved up and took up a defensive flank on HIGHLAND RIDGE as the Hun had broken through near MARCOING.
5 Dec 1917
6 OR Killed, 17 OR wounded
6 Dec 1917
1 OR Wounded, 1 OR Died of wounds
7 Dec 1917
1 Officer Died of wounds, 1 Officer accidentally wounded, 3 OR Killed, 3 OR Wounded (died same day)

Arthur Neville was one of those wounded as the Battle of Cambrai drew to a close. He was probably wounded on 5th or 6th December and evacuated to a Casualty Clearing Station. Arthur died of his wounds on 7th December 1917; he was thirty-one years of age. The grave registration report form gives 2nd December as the date of his death, but this could be an adminstrative error.

He now rests in a Commonwealth war grave in Metz-en-Couture Communal Cemetery, three miles from where he fell. Edward Chipperfield and Sidney Pinchin also died of wounds in Casualty Clearing Stations during the same week of the Battle of Cambrai and are buried nearby. Ernest Silvester was wounded and taken prisoner during the battle and died a few days later.


Arthur Neville at Metz-en-Couture Communal Cemetery British Extension
Metz-en-Couture Communal Cemetery British Extension

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in morning
We will remember them.
Lawrence Binyon