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200873 PTE. A. NUTTALL.  K.O.R.L.R.

Arthur Nuttall was born in Bamber Bridge in the third quarter of 1898.  His family background could not be more complicated.  Arthur appears in the 1911 Census living with his ‘parents’ William and Jane Nuttall, at 24 Collins Road.  However, William and Jane have only been married for two years so they can’t both be his parents.  Both of them have been married before: William was previously married to Ann Waterhouse (b. 1860 in Walton Le Dale, died 1908); they had 11 children but lost 6 in infancy; Jane (Halshaw, b. 1863 in Blackburn) was previously married to Henry Nuttall (b. 1859 in Bamber Bridge, d. 1901) and they had 8 children, losing 1.  In 1911, as well as Arthur, there are four other children in the household: Alice, Ann Ellen, John and Eva.  All of these are Jane’s children from her previous marriage to Henry Nuttall, William’s brother.  The 1901 Census taker may have misrecorded Arthur’s name as Albert and if this is the case then his mother is Ann Waterhouse.  In the Register of Soldiers’ Effects, Arthur identifies his father William as his next of kin, further suggesting that his mother is Ann Waterhouse.  In 1911, Arthur was 12 years old and had just started work in the warehouse at Eccles’ Stone Mill.


When War broke out he was still only 16 and the newspaper article tells us he signed up, still under-age, in 1916.  He joined the King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment).  He was assigned service number 3276 which was later changed to 200873, and posted to 1/4 Battalion.  1/4Bn came under orders of 164th (North Lancashire) Brigade in 55th (West Lancashire) Division.  55th Division was heavily engaged in fighting on the Somme in September 1916, at Guillemont (4-6 September), Ginchy (9 September), Flers-Courcelette (17-22 September) and Morval (25-28 September).  In October, they were moved to the Ypres salient, where they remained for over a year.


In 1917, they fought in the opening phase of the Third Battle of Ypres.  At Pilkem Ridge (31 July – 2 August), the Division captured all its objectives but at enormous cost – no fewer than 168 officers and 3384 other ranks were killed, wounded or missing.  They were withdrawn for re-fit and training and returned to action at the Battle of the Menin Road Ridge (20-23 September), again suffering heavy casualties of 127 officers and 2603 other ranks.  Worse was to come though in November-December when the Division faced the German counter-attack at Cambrai, and the front-line defence apparently crumbled allowing the Germans a rapid and almost bewildering advance.


After further intensive training during the winter, the Division returned to the front line between Givenchy and Festubert in February 1918.  Here, it faced numerous strong enemy raids in March but it was in the defence of Givenchy that 55th Division made its most significant contribution to the war effort.  The Defence of Givenchy was the most famous action that the Division fought. “It was afterwards publicly stated by an officer of the German General Staff that the stand made by the Division on 9 April and the days which followed marked the final ruination of the supreme German effort of 1918”, says the Divisional history. Givenchy was eventually selected as the location of the Division memorial.  It was on the opening day of this defence that Arthur was killed, still only 19 years old.


Rank:  Private

Service Number:  200873

Date of Death:  09/04/1918

Age:  19

Regiment/Service:  King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment), 1st/4th Bn. 

Cemetery/memorial reference: Panel 19 and 20.

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