Arthur Edward Humby

Date of birth: 1885
Place of birth: Southampton
Date of marriage: 1909
Place of marriage: Southampton
Service No.: Not known
Rank: Fireman
Vessel: HMHS Asturias
Service: Mercantile Marine
Died: 1917 aged 32 years
Death location: At sea


Life Before the War
Arthur was born in 1885 in Southampton, one of 9 children born to parents John Henry and Catherine Eliza, nee Squares..   John was born in 1856 and died in 1922 in Southampton.   Catherine Eliza was born in 1854 and died in 1919 in Southampton.

Arthur’s 3 sisters and 5 brothers were:

Jane   b.1878 and d.1967

Emma   b.1879 and d.1963

Edward   b.1882 and died in America

Alice   b.1886 and d.1978

Bertie   b.1886

Thomas   b.1888 and d.1940

Benjamin   b.1889 and d.1964

Sidney   b.1891 and d.1918.  He was a Stoker on HMS Victory and died of disease.

In the census of 1891 Arthur was living with his parents and siblings at St Mary’s, Southampton.

In 1901 the census records him living with his parents and siblings at 18 York Street, Southampton.

Arthur married Florence,  nee Johnson, born 1886,  in 1909 in Southampton.  They had 1 daughter Florence B, born in 1909.

The 1911 census shows that Arthur is married with 1 daughter and living at 19 Bullar Street, Southampton.  His occupation is given as General Labourer.


A cross indicating Arthur's grave at Southampton Old Cemetery.

A cross indicating Arthur’s grave at Southampton Old Cemetery.

War Service
Arthur died at sea on 21st March 1917.  He was awarded the Mercantile War Medal and is remembered on the Southampton Cenotaph Wall.  He was buried  on 29th March 1917 at Southampton Old Cemetery, Grave No C177 – 200.  Also buried there is his wife, who remarried William Dickens in 1921.  She died in 1968 age 82.

Military Facts
HMHS Asturias was built in 1907 as a cruise ship on the Southampton to Buenos Aires run.  When war broke out she was requisitioned by the Admiralty, converted and operated as a hospital ship and made regular crossings to France.  She also served in the Eastern Mediterranean during the Dardanelles Campaign returning wounded back to the United Kingdom.

In March 1917 after landing her wounded back to Avonmouth she was attacked by a German submarine and struck by a torpedoe which blew off her stern killing 35 of her crew.  She was declared a total loss, her hull was put to use as a floating ammunition store at Plymouth for the rest of the war.  Remarkably her hulk was repurchased by the Royal Mail Line in 1920 and rebuilt as a cruise liner, she was renamed Arcadian and operated on cruising in the Mediterranean and West Indies until 1930 and was finally scrapped in 1933.

15 of her crew are buried in Southampton.


Researcher: Shaun Connolly
Published: June 2014
Updated: Insert dates here

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