IRONS Arthur W Campbell-, Captain
3rd Battalion Highland Light Infantry (HLI).
Killed in action 8 March 1916, aged 25.
Arthur Campbell-Irons was born in Kirkintilloch, Dumbartonshire, Scotland on 11 October 1890, the son of Scottish born James Provan Irons and his English wife Kate Ellinor (nee Ward). His parents had married in 1889 in his mother's hometown Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England.
Arthur was aged 5 months when the Scottish 1891 census was taken, and he and his parents were living at Huntly Lodge, Kirkintilloch, Dumbartonshire. His 28 year old father gave his son's place of birth as Scoonie, Dunbartonshire, his own as Glasgow, Lanarkshire and his 27 year old wife's as just England. Arthur's father was transcribed by Ancestry as being a 'Clothing Mamar'.
In 1893 Arthur's sister, Marjorie Scott Irons, was born in Lenzie, Dunbartonshire, Scotland. The family moved to London sometime after her birth and in 1895 the death of Arthur's 31 year old mother was recorded in the Edmonton registration district. During this same year Arthur's father was declared bankrupt with his liabilities amounting to £1,892 13s. 11d., and assets nil.
An article published, on 20 July 1889, in The Standard newspaper reported that Arthur's father, living at 9 Sylvan Villas, Wood Green, had been charged with having obtained credit of £605 5s. without stating that he was an undischarged bankrupt. The court case was dismissed the following month. In 1909, once again Arthur's father faced bankruptcy charges and, as a result of a court case held at the Old Bailey, served one months imprisonment in 1910.
In late 1900 Arthur's father married his sister-in-law Clara Jane Ward in the Holborn registration district.
Arthur was educated at Blundell's School in Tiverton, Devon and St. Dunstan's College in Catford, London.
The 1901 census records Arthur and his sister Marjorie living with their father, and stepmother/aunt in 'Torridale', Perry Vale, Forest Hill, Lewisham. The family employed one domestic servant. Arthur's father was described as a company underwriter.
Arthur served as Private No. 1046 with the 14th Battalion London Regiment (London Scottish), a Territorial Army unit, from 15 February 1909 until 12 September 1914.
Aged 20, Arthur was working in 1911 as a bank clerk for Coutts Bank and living with his family at 65 Chestnut Road, West Norwood. The 1911 census form was filled in by his father stating that he and his second wife Clara had been married for ten years and that of their two children, only their 9 year old daughter, Kathleen had survived. Arthur's father was a stock and share dealer in the Stock Exchange working on his own account. Arthur's 18 year old sister Marjorie did not have an occupation listed. One domestic servant was recorded.
On 4 September 1914 Arthur applied for a commission in the special reserve of officers and joined the 3rd Battalion HLI, a depot and training unit. He described himself as a banker and was living at 21 Palace Gate, London, S.W. He gave two addresses for correspondence, C/O Messrs Coutts & Co 440 Strand, W.C. and 3 Lombard Street, London, E.C. Arthur's aunt, Mrs Haines of 12 Old Court Mansions, Kensington, W. and his father James are both named as his next of kin on different papers from his service record, held at the National Archives.
In September 1914 his old headmaster, C.M. Stuart, of St. Dunstan's wrote:
I certify that Arthur Campbell Irons came to me from Blundells School, and was a pupil here for two years. He always bore an excellent character for industry and uprightness, left in the highest division of the school at the age of 17½ and at time had attained a standard of knowledge corresponding to that of the London University Matriculation.
Arthur was baptised late in life on 10 September 1914. On 14 September 1914 he underwent a medical inspection. He was 68½ inches tall, weighed 142 lbs, had a chest measurement of 34 inches expanding to 37 inches. He had good hearing, good teeth, perfect vision in both eyes, normal colour vision and was declared 'fit'.
Arthur went to France on 1 April 1915 and joined the 2nd Battalion H.L.I., which was in the 5th Brigade, 2nd Division. Arthur was in France for only a short period as on 3 May he became ill with measles and was evacuated to England, via Boulogne, on HMHS Salta, arriving at Southampton on 13 May. On 15 May the War Office sent a telegram to his aunt, Mrs Haines, informing her that Arthur had been admitted to the General Hospital, Wimreaux, France on 6 May, suffering from 'German measles slight'.
When Arthur had recovered and was again fit for duty he was posted to the 1st Battalion H.L I., which was in the Sirhind Brigade, 3rd (Lahore) Division, Indian Army. He went with the Battalion to Mesopotamia (Iraq), embarking at Marseilles on 12 December 1915 and disembarking at Basra on 23 January 1916.
After just over six weeks, Arthur was killed in action on 8 March 1916 fighting in the attempt to relieve the besieged British garrison at Kut. On 8 March the Battalion attacked the Turkish Dujaila Redoubt at Es Sinn. The Soldiers Died CD tells us that 78 other ranks were killed that day.
Arthur was initially buried at Es Sinn, Mesopotamia in an unmarked grave, which was subsequently lost. He is therefore commemorated on the Basra memorial to the missing.
Arthur died intestate and on 6 July 1916, at the Principal Probate Registry, Arthur's father was granted 'Letters of Administration', in the sum of £89 13s. 8d.
On 2 August 1916, whilst residing in the city of New York, Arthur's father gave power of attorney to Thomas Tozer Bickford, solicitor, over the Arthur's affairs.
A letter dated 15 February 1917, from Arthur's service record held by the National Archive, originated by the Army Department in Delhi, India, refers to monies due to his estate and further states that none of his effects were in India. Another letter dated 27 March 1917 states that a sum of 'Rs.705. 8 annas. 3 pies' (Indian money) was due to his estate.
Arthur was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, British War medal and the Victory medal. (His medals, described as 'extremely fine', were sold on 21 September 2007 by DNW Auctioneers for £160).
Arthur is commemorated on the Epsom Golf Club memorial in the clubhouse but surprisingly does not appear on the Coutts Bank Great War memorial.