|Date of birth:||6th June 1896|
|Place of birth:||46 Above Bar, Southampton|
|Service No.:||Not known|
|Regiment:||King’s Shropshire Light Infantry – Machine Gun Corps|
|Battalion:||‘A’ Company, 1st Battalion|
|Died:||8th May 1917 aged 20 years|
Before the War
Arthur Fox was born on 6th June 1896 at 46 Above Bar, Southampton. His parents were Edward Acton, listed on the 1901 census as a Grocer / Shopkeeper, born in Camberwell in 1858; and mother Lucy, nee Lord, born in the village of Great Gonerby, Lincolnshire in 1855.
Arthur’s parents married in October 1886 in Great Gonerby; Edward was 28 and Lucy 32. His paternal Grandfather, John Fox was a Grocer and his maternal Grandfather, Joseph Lord (deceased) was a Farmer.
By the 1891 census the new family are living in the Parish of St Mary’s, Southampton in a house called St Austin. They have a daughter Dorothy, aged one, born in Grantham, Lincolnshire in 1890. The family are living at 152 Portswood Road by 1901 and Arthur had been born. The family had moved to a house called Lucerne on Swaythling Lawn as recorded in the 1911 census and fourteen year old Arthur is a Scholar.
Education and Military History
Arthur was educated at Highfield School, Liphook, Hampshire, and Shrewsbury School, where he was in School House from 1911 to 1915. Here Arthur, a keen rower, was a member of the House 2nd Boat; he was also in the Officers’ Training Corps.
This picture was taken on Field Day in 1915 and shows young cadets of Shrewsbury School in the OTC engaged in a mock charge.
Arthur passed his examination and was entered at Oxford in March 1915. He was commissioned the same week while still at Shrewsbury and joined 1st Battalion, Kings Shropshire Light Infantry. He served with the Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders from 20th August 1915. He was promoted to Captain in November 1916.
He was awarded the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry and determination in April 1916 when, aged 19, he was acting Company Commander. The citation in The London Gazette on Tuesday 30 May 1916 reads:
His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to confer the Military Cross on the undermentioned Officers, in recognition of their gallantry and devotion to duty in the field:
Arthur Fox: For conspicuous gallantry and determination. When he found half his company too weak to carry out an assault, he went back, under heavy fire, and bought up his supporting half company equipped with bombs and shovels. After the assault, in which he captured a trench, he beat off two counter attacks and consolidated his position under very difficult circumstances.
In 1917 he was leading ‘A’ Company when he was killed in action on 8th May, aged just 20.
His Colonel wrote, “He was one of my best Company Commanders, most efficient in every way. His loss is deplorable. He was much respected by his men, and loved by his brother officers. His loss will cause a great blank with us. I had the greatest confidence in him, and just in recent operations he did splendidly.”
Arthur was buried at Philosophe British Cemetery, Mazingarbe, near Loos, Grave I. O. 5. His headstone bears a cross and the words:
Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.’
This tribute from Shrewsbury School was printed in The Salopian, the school’s magazine; “He was … destined to be a clergyman (but for the war); at Shrewsbury his friends remember him as one of the straightest and simplest characters they have ever known. His religion was the most real thing in a singularly honest character.”
De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour
Arthur is also listed in De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour. In the early days of WWI it was believed that the war would be won swiftly and that casualties would be relatively small. In a time of fervent patriotism the Marquis de Ruvigny began to compile a Roll of Honour as a tribute to the fallen few. Sadly, as casualties mounted, it became clear that this would not be the case and the Roll features just a tiny fraction of those soldiers who died. In a way, De Ruvigny’s is a fascinating insight into the overconfidence of a nation and gives a picture of a more naive time. But it can also give us a unique picture of our military ancestors if they are featured.
Arthur was unmarried and he left his estate of £231 10s 10d to his sister Dorothy Mary Fox; this would equate to approximately £14,500 in 2015.
His mother died in May 1924 and his father in April 1925, both in Southampton. Dorothy, who never married, lived till 1960 when she died in Bournemouth.
Arthur Fox is memorialised on the Southampton Cenotaph and the World War One tablet inside St Mary’s Church, South Stoneham, Southampton. His grave lies in the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery at the Philosophe British Cemetery, Mazingarbe, France.
|Published:||11th June 2015|
|Updated:||Insert dates here|
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