Arthur Cross, Private 49603, 13th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment
Killed in action 10th October 1916 in Somme, France
Arthur Cross was born on 18th July and baptised on 6th September 1893 at Christ Church, Macclesfield, the son of Elizabeth Ann and William Henry Cross, a carter of 5 Old Meadow, Macclesfield (Old Meadow is a short street off Bridge Street, adjacent to the Drill Hall). In 1901 the family, who were then living at 26 Market Place, mistakenly listed Arthur in the census as aged six when he would have been seven by then. At that time Arthur’s father was a publican and Arthur had siblings William (9), May (5) and Edie (1).
By 1911 the family had moved again, to 20 Chatham Street, and also included Lily, then aged eight. Seventeen-year-old Arthur was employed as a rope maker and his father was a mineral water carter. Arthur later found employment as a cotton spinner. He was educated at Christ Church School, and attended the Church Street West United Methodist Sunday School.
By the time Arthur joined the 7th Cheshire Regiment in 1915, his sister May had moved to 36 Brywood Road, London.
On 28th January 1914 Arthur joined the 3rd Cheshire Regiment (Army Reserve) with service number 9829. At that time he was employed as a cotton spinner. He was described in his Army records as being 5 feet 2 inches tall, weighing 100 pounds with a 30 inch chest, grey eyes, brown hair, and a small circular scar on the left side of his face.
As a result of being in the Reserves, he was mobilised on 8th August 1914, just after the outbreak of war, but was discharged from the Army less than a month later on 31st August, not being likely to become an efficient special reservist due to him being unable to learn his drill.
However, on 30th June 1915 Arthur attested again, this time with the 7th Cheshire Regiment, receiving service number 3859. Whilst training at Park Hall Camp, Oswestry, he spent almost three weeks in hospital between 29th April and 18th May 1916, suffering from scabies. He was also reprimanded on a number of occasions during early 1916 for such things as being absent from 6.30am parade or improperly dressed on parade.
After training for over a year, Arthur was sent to join the 13th Cheshire Regiment at Rouen, France on 7th September 1916, receiving a new service number, 49603. This regiment came under the orders of the 74th Brigade in the 25th Division.
In early October 1916, the 13th Cheshire Regiment was near Albert in the Somme region of France. The 13th Cheshire Regiment’s war diary includes the following entries:
5.10.16: Relieved by 2nd Royal Irish Rifles and moved back to Bouzincourt
6.10.16: Relieved 2nd South Lancs Regt in Hessian Trench (Mouquet Farm Sector). Casualties Other Ranks 1 killed, 3 wounded.
7.10.16: Holding Front Line – enemy artillery active – Casualties 1 Officer wounded (2nd Lt H H Davies attached 74th T M Battery; Other Ranks 2 killed 7 wounded.
8.10.16: Holding line – artillery active both sides – Casualties Other Ranks 4 killed 2 wounded.
9.10.16: Holding line – Casualties 1 Officer slightly wounded (2nd Lt L L Crisp); Other Ranks 6 killed 11 wounded
10.10.16: Extended line inwards, took over part of 11th Lancs Fusiliers – artillery on both sides very active – Casualties Officers 2 killed (A/Capt H Maxwell, 2nd Lt R J Roberts); Other Ranks 9 killed 24 wounded.
Private Arthur Cross was one of the men to be killed on the 10th October 1916, just five weeks after arriving in France. His death was reported in the Macclesfield Times of 3rd November 1916:
Mrs Cross, 20 Chatham Street, Macclesfield has received news that her son, Private Arthur Cross, Cheshire Regt, has been killed in action in France. The information was received in… [a] letter written by the regimental chaplain, Rev J D Hepple… Private Burgess, whose home is a 19 Union Street, has also written to Mrs Cross, stating that he was with her son when he met his death, and also saw him buried.
A native of Macclesfield, the late Private Cross was 23 years of age. He was educated at Christ Church School, and attended the Church Street West United Methodist Sunday School. Private Cross was formerly in the employ of Mr T J Donohue. He had served in the army prior to the outbreak of war, and had only been in France five weeks. His brother, Sergt. William Cross, is serving with the Manchester Regiment.
Brother of William Ernest Cross, who served as Gunner 161557 with the Royal Garrison Artillery (146th Siege Battery) and was killed in action in France on 23 October 1918.
GRO (England & Wales) Index: Births
Cheshire Parish Baptism Registers: Christ Church, Macclesfield
Census (England & Wales): 1901, 1911
WWI British Army Service Records 1914-1920
WWI British Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects
WWI British Army Medal Rolls Index Cards
WW1 War Diaries (France, Belgium, Germany), 1914-1920: 13th Cheshire Regt (Ref WO 95/2246/3)
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Macclesfield Times: 3 November 1916
Macclesfield Times: 23 September 1921 (photo supplement)