Arthur William French

Date of birth: 1888
Place of birth: Bedfordshire
Date of marriage: 1912
Place of marriage: Leicester
Service No.: 61873
Rank: Private
Regiment: Northumberland Fusiliers
Battalion: 1st / 5th
Died: 27th May 1918 aged 30 years
Death location: France


Life before the War
Arthur William was born in 1888 and was the third child of James French (1860-31/8/1938) and Sarah French, nee Henley, (1858 -28/10/1937). His parents were both born in Bedford and they married  in 1883, again in Bedford.

Arthur’s siblings – 1 sister and 3 brothers – were:

  • Thomas James  born 1885 in Bedford and died 1948 in Brisbane, Australia.  He married Beatrice A Winterton in 1914 in Leicester.
  • Herbert Henley born 1886 in Bedford and died 12/1/1929 in Brisbane, Australia.  He did not marry.
  • Ethel Nettie was born in 1891 in Leicester.  She married George Arthur Mottram in 1924 in Brisbane.  Ethel died in 1928 in Brisbane.
  • Ernest Leonard was born 1893 in Leicester and married Laura Henley in 1919 in Luton.  Ernest  died 3/12/1943 in Thailand.  He was a private in 4 reserve motor transport company in the Australian army. The cause of death was illness.  Ernest is buried in the Kanchanaburi war cemetery.

Census details
In the 1891 census Arthur was living with his family at Cromwell Road, Bedford.  His father was a Bricklayer.

By the time of the 1901 census Arthur and his family were living in Leicester at 24 Norman Street.  Arthur was 12 and working as an errand boy for a boot and shoe shop.  His father was still working as a Bricklayer.

Ten years later, in the 1911 census, Arthur is working as an insurance agent and living with his parents and 2 brothers.  The family are living at 197 Western Road, Leicester.

Arthur married Sarah Betts in 1912 in Leicester.  Sarah was born in Leicester in 1888 and was the daughter of Wilfred Betts and Annie Hook.  They had two children – Olive M, born in 1915, and Iris, born in 1918.

Following Arthur’s death Sarah remarried to George H Smith in 1920.  She was living at 2 Portswood Avenue at this time.

Emigration to Australia
All the family, apart from Arthur, moved to Brisbane, Australia:

Herbert sailed to Australia in 1910 with his father James following and arriving on 2/6/1912 sailing on board the Perthshire.
Ethel sailed from England on board Perthshire arriving 19/12/13 with her mother Sarah.
Thomas and his wife Beatrice left England and arrived on board Rimutaka on 28/11/14.
Ernest and his wife Laura arrived in 1927.


Military Service
Arthur served as a Private with the Northumberland fusiliers 1st/5th battalion.  He was killed on 27th May 1918 and his effects left to his wife. Arthur  is remembered with honour on the Soisson memorial in the locality of Aisne.


Researcher: Amy Wiles
Published: 29th July 2015
Updated: Insert dates here

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