Arthur Dakin, Private 1311, 5th Battalion Cheshire Regiment
Killed in action 8th June 1915 in Belgium, aged 20
Arthur Dakin was born in September 1894 and baptised on 9th October 1894 at Holy Trinity Church, Hurdsfield, Macclesfield, the eldest son of Emma and Samuel Dakin, a silk dresser of 22 Garden Street, Macclesfield.
In 1901, six year old Arthur was living with his parents and siblings Edith (7), Annie (4) and William (7 months). Arthur was educated at Daybrook Street school, reaching Standard VII, and on 16th September 1907, after leaving school at the age of 13 and gaining employment as a cotton weaver, he enrolled at Macclesfield Technical School. Arthur re-enrolled at the Technical School in September 1908 and 1909.
By 1911, the family had moved a few doors along to 26 Garden Street.
Arthur attested at Macclesfield and, after training, joined the battalion on 4th May 1915. He was killed in action fighting at the Ypres Salient on 8th June 1915, aged 20 years, and his death was reported first in the Macclesfield Courier of 19th June 1915, by a letter received from one of Private Dakin’s comrades, Private C. Wallworth:
“I am sorry to say that the ‘Knuts’ have been broken up very badly this week. While we were in the trench on June 7th, the Germans started to shell us a bit, and send trench mortars over. While me and Peter Wright sat down talking together a grenade came over and dropped right against us and covered us both over with earth and sand bags. I managed to get the best side of it, but I am sorry to say that Peter has been sent down the line, as it took all his hearing away, and he can’t tell a word you say to him.
I am very sorry to state that on June 8th I lost my pal, Arthur Dakin, 7th Cheshire, attached 5th Cheshire, for while Arthur was doing his duty in the trench a sniper caught sight of his head above the trench and fired at him … and killed him. Arthur was a weaver at the Lower Heyes Mill, and has been my pal since we were children. His address is 26 Garden Street, Macclesfield.”
A letter received by Mrs. Dakin from Private Fred Riseley also speaks of her son’s death. In the letter he says, “… all the boys out here send their deepest sympathy. I hope you will be pleased to know that we gave him as good a resting place as we could find. … when we were getting downhearted he would always cheer us up.”
In a letter more recent than the above, … Private Wallworth … states that Dakin was buried by the side of another Macclesfield lad, … Ralph Hunt.
Private Bulger, of Daybrook Street, states in one of his letters that Dakin was hurt on Monday 7th as a result of the trench being blown up. On Tuesday night, the 8th, at about 8 o’clock, he was trying to get out of the trench and was hit by a sniper.
Arthur Dakin’s death was reported in the Times newspaper of 6th July 1915, and a letter from a comrade in the same battalion, Private J. Holland, printed in the Macclesfield Courier of 10th July 1915, states:
“We were relieved out of the trenches on Thursday night, after having been in 17 days….. We had an awful lot of casualties…. I am sorry to tell you we lost three Macclesfield lads. Percy Wilson was fetching some water from a pump we had rigged up behind the trench, and Sergeant-Major Green’s son was killed by a bullet. He was standing in a trench when a stray bullet entered his head, and when they got him to the dressing station he was dead. And then there was Dakin, out of Hurdsfield Road. He was killed by a sniper. The bullet went through his head and wounded another chap in the shoulder.”
Private Arthur Dakin is buried in grave ref. I. G. 11. in Spoilbank Cemetery in Belgium.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private Arthur Dakin, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.