Arthur Frost, 7879 Private, 1st Battalion, Cheshire Regiment
Killed in action 24 August 1914 at Mons, France, aged 27
Arthur Frost was born on 27th November 1886 and baptised on 25th May 1887 at Wellington Road Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Bollington, the son of Elizabeth and Samuel Frost, a policeman of Wellington Road, Bollington. The 1891 census records Arthur and his mother living with Elizabeth’s mother in Wolstanton, Staffordshire. By the time of the 1901 census, Elizabeth and Samuel with their five children were living at Styal Cross, Cheshire where Samuel was the village police constable for several years. Arthur, then 14 years of age, was working as a cotton weaver. By 1911 Arthur’s family had moved to Runcorn, Cheshire; his parents later lived at Hadfield, Derbyshire, and by the time the Imperial (later Commonwealth) War Graves Commission registered his details for memorialisation they had moved to 32 Mottram Moor, Hollingworth, Manchester.
Arthur enlisted into the Army and by 1911 he was serving with the 2nd Battalion, Cheshire Regiment in India. It appears that he had left the Army before 1914, but on mobilisation in August 1914 he was recalled and re-enlisted into the Cheshire Regiment in Crewe. He probably travelled to Ireland initially, where the 1st Battalion was stationed before the War, and is known to have been posted into ‘C’ Company.
The 1st Battalion landed in France on 16th August 1914 as part of the British Expeditionary Force and soon after was deployed in action against the Germans to cover the withdrawal of British troops from Mons. Heavy fighting took place at Audregnies near the French-Belgian border on 24th August and the Battalion was almost overwhelmed by four German regiments. By the end of the day, only 205 officers and men could be mustered from the Battalion’s original strength of 1000. The remainder had been killed, wounded or captured by the Germans. It was later confirmed that 3 officers and 54 men had been killed on that day, including Privates Arthur Frost and Edward Eaton – the first two men from Macclesfield and district to be killed in the Great War.
Arthur was reported missing on 9 September 1914 and in January 1916 his death was confirmed to have taken place on 24 August 1914. Whilst he was missing, his parents, who were living at 401 Hadfield Lane, Hadfield, Derbyshire, made enquiries to the Red Cross in an attempt to discover his whereabouts.
Private Arthur Frost has no known grave, and he is commemorated on the La Ferte-Sous-Jouarre Memorial in Seine-et-Marne, France. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private Arthur Frost, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
Private Arthur Frost is commemorated locally on Hadfield war memorial. He may be the Arthur Frost named on the Styal Village (above) and Styal Methodist Church war memorials.