I found Arthur Rudge by adding “Shotton” in the “Additional Information” on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Website on the eve of Remembrance Day 2020.
I am not absolutely sure if I have the right family, but as the Commonwealth War Graves Citation states that Arthur had a wife Susie and son Geoffrey, I am pretty sure that I have, but would welcome any feedback and information.
I believe that Arthur Rudge was born in the September quarter of 1915, (Lancashire Vol. 8c Page 836), the son of John Arthur & Sarah Ellen Rudge (nee Beharrell) who had married in Holcombe Emmanuel Parish Church after Banns on the 30th September 1911. John Arthur Rudge was 22 years old and a bachelor, his occupation was stated as “Beamer,” living at 3, Beech Street, his father was Joseph Rudge (deceased), Quarryman. His bride, Sarah Ellen Beharrell, also 22 was a spinster and a Spinner, living at 17, Thorn Street, his father was John Beharrell, Plainer.
Arthur’s father, John Arthur Rudge had been born to Joseph & Mary Rudge and was baptised on the 12th January 1890 at St. John’s Church, Facit, Lancashire, they lived at Leavengreave, Shawforth, Joseph was a Quarryman. (Possible Birth Certificate for John Arthur – Rochdale Vol. 8ePage 84).
Arthur’s mother Sarah Ellen Beharrell had been born in the September quarter of 1889 in the Bury Registration District. (Lancashire –Vol. 8c Page: 508).
Arthur met and married, I believe, Susie Walker in the September quarter of 1938 in Heywood, Lancashire. (Heywood Vol. 8c Page 1432). How and where they met I do not know, so any information would be gratefully received.
I am pretty sure that Susie Walker was from Connah’s Quay, she was the only Susie Walker I could find with connections to Deeside, so again any information would be gratefully received.
I have no information on Arthur’s early or teenage years and I don’t know when he enlisted, except that, I believe, sadly his mother Sarah Ellen Rudge had died in the December quarter of 1934 age 45 years (Heywood Vol. 8c Page 480). I also believe that Susie had suffered the loss of her mother Frances Louisa in 1934 (Flintshire (Mold)FLNT/37/100)age 34 years.
Arthur & Susie are on the 1939 National Register (Taken on the 29th September 1939) living at 67 Victoria Street, Ramsbottom, Lancashire with Susie. This source gives the dates of birth, Arthur being born on the 25th May 1915 and was a Textile Dyeing Productive Process Worker, Susie had been born on the 8th December 1910 and as most married women on this register who did not have a job, was described as doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.” Also in the household was Elsie Rudge born on the 18th October 1920 and was a Beamer in the Cotton Mill. There is a closed* or redacted record and I believe this to be their son Geoffrey Neville Rudge born in the March quarter of 1939 in Bury, Greater Manchester. His mother’s maiden name was Walker and I believe he was registered as Neville Rudge (Bury Vol. 8c Page 567).
* For individual people, records remain closed for a century after their birth (the 100-year rule), unless it can be proven that they passed away before this milestone. (*Is this Geoffrey, their son, who died in 1958 age 19 years, in a motorcycle accident? He was in my year at Deeside Secondary School, Shotton and I remember his death vividly.)
This Register also gives us clues to the marriage after Arthur’s death of Susie Walker marrying Ronald Hughes in the December quarter of 1947 (Flintshire (Mold) HOL/70/39) and also the marriage of Elsie Rudge, possibly Arthur’s sister, in the December quarter of 1941 to Barnes Haworth (Bury Vol. 8c Page 1175)
I am wondering if Susie came home after Arthur was called up or he enlisted, as some women did, her father was still living in Cooper’s Lane, Connah’s Quay on the 1939 National Register as he had been on the 1911 census and the same house that Susie had been born, as shown on her baptism at St. Mark’s Church, on the 5th January 1911, her parents o John & Frances Louisa WALKER, Cooper’s Lane, Cellarman.
1939 National Register – John Walker was born 2nd May, Scrap Press Attendant Iron Work and Annie Walker born on the 29th October 1892 and was doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.” Another occupant was Dorothy Kilbride born 23rd March 1932 and was at School. Again this register gave a clue to the fact that Dorothy Kilbride married in the March quarter of 1953 to William H. Piercy in a Civil Marriage or Registrar Attended marriage (Wirral R/24W/243).
John & Annie Walker (nee Dutton) had married in 1937 in a Civil Marriage (Flintshire (Mold)HOL/58/94).
However Arthur was to find himself in the Gordon Highlanders and in Italy by 1945 and the History Information from the Commonwealth War Graves Citation for Arthur states:-
“ The final Allied offensive began early the following April and Argenta Gap War Cemetery marks the final stages of the hard fighting in Italy in the spring of 1945. The site of the cemetery was chosen by the 78th Division for battlefield burials, and it was later enlarged when burials were brought in from the surrounding district. It contains, among others, the graves of many men of the Commandos engaged in the amphibious operations on the shores of the Comacchio lagoon early in April 1945.”
The National Archives – Catalogue description
Italy: 1st Battalion, London Scottish, Gordon Highlanders; missing personnel
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Reference: WO 361/882
Description: Italy: 1st Battalion, London Scottish, Gordon Highlanders; missing personnel
Date: 1944 Jun 07 – 1945 Jul 25
Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Former reference in its original department: M/IT/71A
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Closure status: Open Document, Open Description
Access conditions: Open on Transfer
Record opening date: 22 April 2011
The peacetime battalion of the regiment, served as infantry within the 168th (London) Infantry Brigade (alongside the 1st London Irish Rifles and 10th Royal Berkshire Regiment), part of the 56th (London) Infantry Division (nicknamed “The Black Cats”), playing a significant part in the Italian Campaign, fighting in the Allied invasion of Sicily, fighting at Monte Camino, Battle of Anzio, Gothic Line (afterwards transferred to 167th (London) Infantry Brigade) and Operation Grapeshot, the final offensive in Italy in 1945.
Operation Grapeshot – the Allied Spring Offensive in Italy (9 April-2 May 1945)
Although the Gordon Highlander’s are not mentioned, it may give an idea what Arthur went through at the time of his death.
The Gordon Highlanders
Second World War
1st Battalion and the 5th Territorial Battalion deployed straight to France in 1939. Both were captured at Saint-Valery-en-Caux in Normandy in June 1940. 2nd Battalion had been in Singapore since 1936 and was captured there when the city fell to the Japanese in February 1942.
Both 1st and 2nd Battalions were re-formed in Britain by renumbering territorial battalions of the regiment. In 1942, the new 1st Battalion served in North Africa, fighting at El Alamein (1942) and in Tunisia. The following year, it fought in Sicily and Italy.
Both re-formed battalions landed on D-Day (6 June 1944) and fought in the ensuing campaign in North West Europe. Other Territorial and hostilities-only battalions fought in North Africa, Italy and Burma.
The Casualty List No. 1356 (Page 7) states that Arthur was wounded and was in the Seaforth Highlanders on the 11th January 1944.
The next Casualty List 1391 (Page 33) corrects the one above and states that he was in the Gordon Highlanders.
Casualty List No. 1738 (Page 3) now states that Arthur was Killed in Action on the 7th April 1945 whilst in the Gordon Highlanders (1st. London Scottish)
So I can only presume that Arthur was to suffer injuries in the January 1944, survived to fight again and was tragically killed in April 1945.
Arthur was initially buried, probably where he fell, although the Commonwealth War Graves, Graves Concentration Report form tells us the co-ordinates :- ITALY 1/50,000. Sh.89/IV. M.R.535519. I do not know where that is, but Arthur was reburied on the 31st January 1946, which coincides with the excerpt from the History information (CWGC) above, which stated that the burial were brought in from surrounding districts.
I found on the website http://ww2talk.com/index.php?threads/l-cpl-james-fraser-henderson-1st-bn-the-london-scottish-gordon-highlanders.69576/ that the soldier in question James Fraser Henderson was also buried at the same spot as Arthur when he died and is indeed on the same CWGC Graves Concentration Report Form, they were both reburied as above. I contacted the member and he has allowed me to add his biography of James to Arthur’s page, so giving you a better insight in what they all went through.
The website https://www.ww2cemeteries.com/argenta-gap-war-cemetery.html gives 2 accounts of the bravery of some of the young men who died and are buried with Arthur, they both were awarded the V.C. I am sure that Arthur would have been inspired by their bravery.
Arthur Rudge in the England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995. – RUDGE, Arthur of 67, Victoria-street, Ramsbottom, Lancashire died 7th April 1945 on war service. Administration Manchester, 18th September to Susie RUDGE, widow.
In the Manchester Evening News 20 April 1945 he is reported Killed in Action, with his address as Victoria Street, Ramsbottom. I am not as sure as I would like to be that I have the right families, so any information would be gratefully received. Susie & Geoffrey could very well be living at her father’s home in Connah’s Quay.
I do not know why Arthur’s name was not put forward to be remembered on the Connah’s Quay & Shotton WW2 War Memorial, as his wife was from Connah’s Quay and his son Geoffrey was living there until his death in 1958, sadly Susie was to suffer 2 losses in 13 years and Arthur should be remembered for his sacrifice and if there is any additions to the Memorial, I would like to see his name with the others who were forgotten or missed on it.
“LOVED AND REMEMBERED NOT JUST TO-DAY BUT ALWAYS BY HIS WIFE SUSIE AND SON GEOFFREY”