Arthur Herity, Corporal 8523, 16th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment
Killed in action 22nd October 1917 in Belgium, aged 29
Arthur Herity was born in Hurdsfield on 10 March 1888, the son of Sarah Ann and John Herity, a cotton spinner. In 1891, three-year-old Arthur was living at 18 King St, Macclesfield with his parents and siblings John (15), Frank (12), Alice (11), Thomas (9), Denis (5), and baby Celia, ten months old. Arthur was baptised at St Alban’s Church on 14 April 1895 along with his siblings Celia, Clara and Dennis, and he was educated at St Paul’s school.
By 1901 the family had moved to 34 King Street and included two more children, Clara (8) and another Dennis (6); thirteen-year-old Arthur was employed as a cotton creeler (winder).
On 8 June 1904 at the age of 17 years 3 months, Arthur attested with the Cheshire Militia for a period of six years service. In his service records Arthur stated that he was employed by Mr Smith of Newhall Street as a cotton spinner in a factory. He was described as 5 feet 2¼ inches tall, weighing 95 pounds with a 30 inch chest. He had a fair complexion, grey eyes and light coloured hair, and had three vaccination marks on his upper right arm. He also stated that he was a Roman Catholic. The following year, on the 19 June 1905, Arthur attested for a period of nine years in the Army and a further three years in the Army Reserve, but was discharged two months later for not being likely to become an efficient soldier.
Undaunted, four years later on 27 October 1909 Arthur joined the Cheshire Regiment Special Reserve with service number 3/8523. On that occasion he was employed as a slater’s labourer and he was described as 5 feet 7¼ inches tall, weighing 124 pounds and with a 33 inch chest. He had a large scar on his right shin and had hazel eyes and dark brown hair. Detective Inspector Frank Robinson of the Borough Police Office provided a reference, stating that he had known Arthur for ten years and he was employed by Mr Unwin, a slater. Arthur later worked for Messrs E and A Frith, builders of Catherine Street, Macclesfield.
Arthur attended the annual training camps, which were held in North Wales in late May or early June from 1910 until 1914, although he was occasionally reprimanded for minor misdemeanors such as being improperly dressed in town, absent from Battalion Bathing Parade and drunk in the lines of the King’s Regiment.
In 1911 the family was still living at 34 King Street; Arthur, employed as a cotton piecer, filled in the census form for his mother. Arthur’s father died in 1915.
As a trained Army Reservist, Arthur was mobilised on 8 August 1914, immediately after the outbreak of war, and sent to Birkenhead for training. After nearly five months training he was drafted to the Western Front, leaving from Southampton on 26 January 1915. Arthur may have been allowed home for Christmas 1915 as he was reprimanded on 31 December 1915 for overstaying his leave to England by 4 days and 22 hours. However, this does not seem to have had a detrimental effect on his Army career as he was promoted to unpaid Lance-Corporal on 22 March 1916, made a full Lance-Corporal on 6 August the same year, and promoted again to Acting Corporal a week later.
Arthur was injured by a gunshot wound to the right shoulder on 4 September 1916 and repatriated to England, a journey which took four days. He was admitted to the 2nd Western General Hospital in Manchester on 8 September and remained there for four months. The bullet entered about three inches below his collar bone and moved upwards through his shoulder, exiting through the deltoid muscle. Arthur suffered a slight fever on 12 September and in late December the wound had to be reopened and ‘scraped’, but by 6 January 1917 it had healed and Arthur was discharged from hospital on 9 January 1917.
After recovery from his wound, Arthur was again drafted to the Western Front, this time leaving from Folkestone for Boulogne on 8 March 1917. He was sent to join the 16th Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment on 13 April and was promoted to Corporal the same day. In August 1917 his service after recall at the start of the war became ‘time-expired’ and he was granted one months leave before continuing; Arthur returned to France in September and was killed in action about a month later on 22nd October 1917. His death was reported in the Macclesfield Times of 23 November 1917:
KILLED IN ACTION – A PATRIOTIC FAMILY
News was received on Saturday [17th November] by Mrs Herity, of 34 King Street, Macclesfield, that her son, Corporal Arthur Herity, Cheshire Regt, was killed in action in France on October 22nd. Corporal Herity, who was 29 years of age, was a reservist and was called to the colours on the outbreak of war. He went out to France in January, 1915, and was wounded in September, 1916. He was in England a short time, and on recovering rejoined his regiment in France in March this year. In August he became time-expired and was granted the customary month’s leave before continuing service. He returned to France in September and was killed a month later…
Corporal Arthur Herity has no known grave and is commemorated on panel ref. 61-63 on the Tyne Cot Memorial, West Vlaanderen, Belgium. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Corporal Arthur Herity, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
Brother of Dennis Herity, who served with with the 7th Cheshire Regiment and became a prisoner of war after being captured at Cambrai in March 1918, and John Herity, who was wounded in action and repatriated to England; brother-in-law of William Bowers (husband of his sister Celia), who was killed in action in 1914; and uncle of Frank Herity, who served with the Machine Gun Corps and was killed in action in 1918.
GRO (England & Wales) Index: Births
Family History Society of Cheshire, Macclesfield Group: Catholics in Macclesfield CD – Baptism transcriptions
Census (England & Wales): 1891, 1901, 1911
WWI British Army Service Records 1914-1920
WWI British Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects
WWI British Army Medal Rolls Index Cards
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Macclesfield Times: 23 November 1917, 23 September 1921 (photo supplement)