Bunnell, Arthur

Name of Researcher / Enw’r ymchwylydd: Mavis Williams

Name of Memorial / Enw’r gofeb: Connahs Quay

Name / Enw: Bunnell, Arthur

Regiment/Catrawd: 1st Royal Welsh Fusiliers

Service Rank and Number / Rheng gwasanaeth a rhif: Lance Corporal 5537 (former numbers were 5839, 9998, 444)

Military Cemetery/Memorial / Fynwent milwrol: Le Touret Memorial

Ref No Grave or Memorial / Rhif cyfeirnod bedd: Panel 13 and 14

Country of Cemetery or Memorial / Gwlad y fynwent neu gofeb: France

Medals Awarded / Medalau a ddyfarnwyd: Victory, British War and 1915 Star medals

Date of Death: 16th May 1915

Date and Circumstances of Death / Dyddiad ac amgylchiadau marwolaeth:

Killed in Action 16th May 1915

Arthur Bunnell was born in 1886 in Tarvin, Cheshire. His parents were William and Harriet Bunnell. He appears on the census of 1891 living with his family at Rowton Bridge Lane, Great Broughton, Christleton, Chester. The head/father of the family was William then aged 35 who was a  Groom (domestic). He hailed from Mold in Flintshire. His wife Harriet was 30 and also came from Mold. (this Mold connection is not continued in subsequent census returns). Their children were Edward 10, Clara 9, Edith 3, Arthur 5 and Bertha 8 months.

The 1901 census places the family at Aston Farm Yard, Hawarden, Flintshire. William aged 42  was a coachman. Harriet was 41. Edward was 20 and was an electric engine driver, Edith was 13, Bertha was 10, Thomas was 8, Wilfred was 7, Alice was 5 and Samuel was 2.  There was no mention of Arthur who would have been about 15. Where was he?

Arthur next appears on the 1911 census living at home with his family at Eleanor House, Chester Road Shotton in Flintshire. At this time the family comprised  William 53 a coachman, Harriet his wife of 31 years was 53, 12 children had been born, but sadly 1 had died.   Arthur was 25 and a sheet iron roller, Bertha was 20, Thomas 18 a galvanised sheet worker, Wilfred was 17 and a bottle worker, Samuel 12, Ethel 10, and May 6 were all at school.  There was a James Lewis who was a boarder.

On the 13th May 1913 Arthur Bunnell married Helena May Talbot at King’s Norton in Warwickshire. (Kings N., Vol. 6d Page 187) (this is confirmed in his army service records.)

In the newspaper County Herald dated Friday 25th September 1914 (Page 7, Col.1/2) under the heading ” Connah’s Quay and Shotton Recruiting for Kitchener’s Army”, it is referring to the local household’s that have sent their sons to the War and the Bunnell family sent 4 sons in one day (a fifth would have joined had he nor been under age, and then he asked permission to join as a Buglar), perhaps Arthur was one of them.

As an army reservist, Arthur was called up to serve in the Great War at a very early stage. His attestation papers were signed on 2nd September 1914. He confirmed that he was 28 years and 6 months old, that he was married and that he had previous military experience. His trade or calling was ironmaker.

Arthur’s army service records have survived but they are in a poor state. They are accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk They tell us that he enlisted in the 2nd Voluntary Battalion of the Royal Wesh Fusiliers on 11th September 1905. He re engaged on 7th april 1909 for a further three years (regimental number 9998)  His number was changed again in 1908 to 444. His engagement with the army was terminated on 6th April 1912.

His medal card tells us that he first entered a theatre of war on 23rd November 1914 in France.

UK Soldiers who died in the Great War 1914 -19 accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk gives us his regimental details as above and tells us that he enlisted in Wrexham and that he was Killed in Action.

There is a card for Arthur in the Flintshire Roll of Honour at the County Archive Office in Hawarden. It gives Eleanor House Shotton as the address, his regimental details and that he served 10 months . It lists his medals – (differs slightly from army medal card as it states he had the 1914 Star) and tells us that he died at Festubert.The card was signed by E M Bunnell.

There is correspondence in Arthur’s records between the army and Helena his wife regarding the receipt of medals and plaque and also concerning possible gratuities due.  Her address is given as 4 Kingsley Road, Garden City Queensferry. There is a note from her about a change of address to 57, Lewisham  Road, Smethwick, Staffs.  Her name changed at some point to Helena May Tucker so it seems she eventually remarried.

Arthur Bunnell in the UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929 tell us that the sole Legatee was Arthur’s widow Helena May Bunnell who was paid £1. 14s 9d on the 17th November 1915 and his War Gratuity of £3. 0s 0d was paid to Helena May Tucker* on the 30th June 1919. –

* Helena May Bunnell remarried in the December quarter of 1918 to Edward Tucker (Aston   6d       810).   The district Aston is in the county of Warwickshire.

Thanks to Bill Tyrell, who allowed me access to the Minutes of the the Conservative Club Shotton where in a meeting on the 9th October 1916 the committee voted to give financial help to sixteen widows of the area.   Mrs. Bunnell, 83, Sydenham Road, Smethwick was one of those widows, they were each given 5/-.    Please click on the link to read the names of the others who were mentioned in the minutes.

Arthur’s Brothers.

In the newspaper County Herald dated Friday 25th September 1914 (Page 7, Col.1/2) under the heading ” Connah’s Quay and Shotton Recruiting for Kitchener’s Army”, it is referring to the local household’s that have sent their sons to the War and Mrs Bunnell, a Widow sent 4 sons in one day (a fifth would have joined had he not been under age, and then he asked permission to join as a Buglar), perhaps Arthur was one of them.

Arthur had four brothers Edward, Thomas, Wilfred and Samuel. There is evidence that three of them served in the war and survived. There is a Flintshire Roll of Honour card for Thomas (wounded left thigh and right arm), a card for Samuel (served 2 years)  and a card for Edward  (wounded left buttock and right hand).

Edward, the eldest brother was recognised in a very personal way for his bravery. He was also quite a writer and the war prompted him to write poetry as well as a descriptive account of life at the front. His grandson P H Bunnell has transcribed these and they are reproduced below. He has also transcribed the newspaper account of the presentation to Edward when he was thanked  for his bravery.

What we know about Edward Bunnell (Ted)?

He was born in 1881. Appears on 1881 census at Tarvin Sands aged 4 months. Father William 23 a coachman. Mother Harriet, 22yrs

!891 census aged 10 in Christleton with his parents and 4siblings.

1901 census aged 20 and electric engine driver living at Aston, Flintshire with his parents and 6 siblings

1911 census aged 30 years  living at 32 Overleigh Rd Handbridge Chester where he was a police constable working for Chester City Police. He was married to Clara (nee Whatton)  and had two children Edward William 3 and Arthur 1.

We know from his Flintshire card in the Roll of Honour at the County Archive Office in Hawarden that he returned to Deeside and lived with his family at 62 Ash Grove Shotton.

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Arthur is also remembered on the Hawarden War Memorial and the St. Ethelwold’s Church Screen.  He is also on the Memorial Plaque in St. Andrew’s Church, Garden City.   His name was added to the bottom of the list of names and it is not done with Gold lettering, making me believe it was added later as all the names are alphabetical.