Leamington soldier honoured by family 100 years since his death

From left: Matthew Alcock, Derek Alcock, Sue Hale, Rebecca Taylor, Kathleen Alcock, and Craig Taylor holding Chloe Taylor
From left: Matthew Alcock, Derek Alcock, Sue Hale, Rebecca Taylor, Kathleen Alcock, and Craig Taylor holding Chloe Taylor

Four generations of the same family turned out the pay their respects to their Leamington relative who died on the battlefield in the First World War 100 years ago.

Arthur Alcock, who lived in Windsor Place, was killed at the age of 19 on the first day of the Battle of Arras in France on April 9, 1917.

And exactly 100 years later on Sunday April 9, his family laid a wreath at the Leamington War Memorial in Euston Place, on which Arthur’s name appears.

Present on the day were Arthur’s nephew Derek Alcock, Derek’s wife Kathleen Alcock, his great-niece Sue Hale his great-great nephew Matthew Alcock, his great-great niece Rebecca Taylor and her husband Craig Taylor, and his great-great-great niece Chloe Taylor.

The deputy mayor of Leamington also attended.

Sue Hale said the day was a moving experience for all the family.

She said: “We didn’t want to let the day go by without doing something. It’s so easy to think: ‘it’s 100 years’ and do nothing, but we wanted to do something to remember him by.

“We place the wreath right under his name on the war memorial.

“It was a very personal thing for Uncle Arthur and it was a fitting tribute to him.”

Arthur Alcock grew up in Leamington as a boy, and was listed in a census as an ‘errand boy’ during his childhood.

When he joined the army during the First World War, he was originally a member of the 7th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment, a territorial army unit based in Leamington.

But he was later drafted into the 10th Lincolnshire Regiment, also known as the Grimsby Chums, due to a sharp decline in their numbers after the devastating Battle of the Somme in 1916.

The regiment was later sent to Arras in France as part of a British assault on German defences in 1917. Arthur perished on the first day of fighting, but his body was not recovered.

However, in 2001, much of the battle site was excavated. 23 bodies were found in one part of the site, with 20 of the bodies linking arms still with their boots on. The other three were fund in a nearby hole created by the explosion of a shell.

It is believed one of those bodies belonged to Arthur, as he had been registered as missing in the aftermath of the battle.

The 23 bodies were buried in the nearby Point du Jour cemetery in 2002. Arthur’s family were able to make the trip to the cemetery that year to lay a wreath at his grave, along with the-then mayor of Leamington.