Arthur Whitmore, Private PO/16312, Portsmouth Battalion, Royal Marine Light Infantry
Killed in action 6th May 1915 at Gallipoli, aged 21
Arthur Whitmore was born in 1893 and baptised with his younger brother Aubrey on 29th May 1895 at Christ Church, Macclesfield, the son of Mary and Robert Arthur Whitmore, a cork cutter of 29 Hand Street, Macclesfield. Arthur’s date of birth is unclear as the baptism register records his date of birth as 13th July 1894, and his service records state that his date of birth was 22nd July 1894, but his birth was registered in 1893, and the school register and census records confirm this year of birth.
In 1901, Arthur, aged 7, was living at 29 Hand Street with his parents and siblings Elsie (13), Joseph (10), Harold (8), Aubrey (5), Collin (3) and Charlotte (1). At the age of ten, Arthur was admitted to St George’s Church of England Primary School, Sutton (south Macclesfield) with his brother Aubrey. By 1911, Arthur had left school and was employed as a shoe maker.
Arthur joined the Royal Marines in Manchester on 22 April 1912, giving his date of birth as 22nd July 1894 and thus he was “under age” until he reached the age of 18 years on 22nd July 1912. He was described as 5 feet 6 inches tall, with a fresh complexion, blue eyes, light brown hair, and he had a scar on the bridge of his nose. He was based at Deal initially, where on 10th October 1912 it was confirmed that he was able to swim. On 13th February 1913 Arthur was transferred to Portsmouth, and his conduct here was recorded as ‘Very Good’, with ‘Satisfactory’ ability.
On 3rd June 1914, Arthur embarked aboard HMS Grafton, which was employed in enforcing the naval blockade of Germany on the outbreak of the First World War. The Grafton was withdrawn from this work in December 1914 and Arthur returned to Portsmouth on 10th December 1914.
Arthur then joined the Portsmouth Battalion of the Royal Marine Light Infantry on 16th December 1914, and was drafted with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force to Gallipoli on 28th April 1915.
Records state that Arthur was killed in action on 6th May 1915, but also state: “All Portsmouth Battalion casualties recorded by C.W.G.C. as died 6th May 1915 were most likely killed in the charge up Razor-Back hill Monash Valley on 3rd May 1915, but may have been killed at ANZAC Beachhead on any date between 28th April 1915 and 3rd May 1915“.
Arthur’s death was reported in The Times & East Cheshire Observer of 4th June 1915:
“As reported last week, Private Arthur Whitmore, Royal Marine Light Infantry, son of Mr and Mrs R. A. Whitmore, 29 Hand Street, Macclesfield, and grandson of the Mayor (Alderman Joseph Whitmore) has been killed in action near the Dardanelles.
Private Whitmore, who enlisted four years ago, was 23 years of age. Up to Christmas, which he spent at home, he was serving on a warship in the North Sea, and went to Egypt early in the New Year. Three of his brothers are also serving their country – Harold who is in the Royal Engineers, and Aubrey and Colin, both of whom are in the 6th Battalion Cheshire Regt. at Aberystwyth.”
Private Arthur Whitmore has no known grave and is commemorated on Panel Ref. 2-7 of the Helles Memorial in Turkey. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private Arthur Whitmore, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.