Arthur James Snook

Date of birth: 2nd September 1877
Place of birth: Sherborne, Dorset
Service number: 139062
Rank: Gunner
Regiment: Royal Garrison Artillery
Died: 29th September 1918 aged 41
Death location: France and Flanders

Military Service
Arthur James Snook’s military service record survives in great detail. On 29th November 1915 aged 38 years and a height of 5 feet 4 inches Arthur James Snook enlisted for short service for the duration of the war. On 12th June 1917 he passed the Signalling Class 1 course of instruction. He was deployed on British soil from 30th March 1916. He transferred from the army reserves in the Royal Garrison Artillery (service number:139062) on 14th December 1916 as a private with the 115 infantry. He was made a gunner on 27th January 1917. On 25th June 1917 he deployed for France and served in 336 siege battery (7th July 1917 to 15th Jan 1918), 308 siege battery (18th February 1918 to 9th April 1918) and 355 siege battery (23rd April 1918) until he was killed in action on 29th September 1918 aged 41. The Royal Garrison Artillery siege batteries were equipped with heavy howitzer guns, sending large calibre high explosive shells at a high trajectory, plunging fire behind enemy lines.

Arthur James Snook was posthumously awarded the British medal and clasp 7909 and the Victory medal in recognition of his services to his country and is inscribed on the cenotaph at Southampton “lest we forget”, and is commemorated on the Vis-en-Artois memorial in France.

The British War Medal was awarded for service in World War One. Also called the British Empire campaign medal, it was issued for services between 5th August 1914 and 11th November 1918. The medal was automatically awarded in the event of death on active service. This medal was sometimes irreverently referred to as ‘Squeak’.

The Victory medal, also called the Inter Allied Victory Medal was awarded to those who received the British War Medal. It was never awarded alone. This medal was sometimes irreverently referred to as ‘Wilfred’.

Life before the war

Arthur James Snook was christened in Sherborne, Dorset on 2nd September 1877, third child to William Snook (born 1846), a plasterer by trade and Emma Brine (born 1847) had married on 25th December 1868 after banns at the parish Church of Sherborne, Dorset witnessed by William Brine and Elizabeth Hunt. (From marriage certificate)

They had a total of 8 children but by 1911 one had died in infancy.
The following children of William and Emma Snook are confirmed from parish records:

  1. William John was born in 1870
  2. Alice Annie born in 1875 and married John Henry Allison in 1898 (registered in Winchester vol2c p211) they lived in Farnham.
  3. Arthur James was born on 2nd September 1877 
  4. Samuel Fred was born in 1880
  5. George was born in 1880 and died within the same quarter of 1880
  6. Frank Herbert was born in 1885.
  7. Beatrice Emma was born in 1887 and married Frank Jordan in 1912 (registered in South Stoneham, Southampton vol2c p147) and lived in Bellevue Road. Portswood, Southampton.
  8. Frederick Charles was born in 1889.

In 1871 the family lived in Treson Lane (?), Sherborne. His father was employed as a plasterer.
In 1881 the family lived at George Street, Sherborne, Dorset. His father was still employed as a plasterer.
In 1891 the family had moved to Newell Hill, Sherborne, Dorset. His father was still employed as a plasterer and Arthur James was an errand boy.
In 1901 the family had moved town to Rosebank, High Road, South Stoneham, Southampton. His father was still employed as a plasterer journeyman and Arthur James was a tailor.
In 1911 his parents lived at Mansbridge, Swaythling. His father was still employed as a house plasterer. Arthur James was not at home with his parents on census night and no trace of him could be found.

His mother Emma died aged 77 at the end of 1924 in Southampton.
His father William may have died in 1935 aged 82 (a death of the correct age is registered in Portsmouth vol2b p561)

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