Great War Memorials - Surnames I

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IMBER, Alfred Charles (Revised 17/01/2015)
IRONS, Arthur W Campbell-(New 16/07/2014)
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IMBER Alfred Charles, Corporal. B/2915.

7th Battalion Rifle Brigade.
Died of Wounds 2 March 1918, aged 20.

Corporal Imber's headstone at the Grand-Seraucourt British Cemetery
Corporal Imber's headstone at the Grand-Seraucourt British Cemetery
Copyright image courtesy of Clive Gilbert

Alfred Charles Imber was born in Sherrington, Wiltshire on 28 January 1898 (GRO reference Mar 1898 Warminster 5a 144) to Henry and Betsey Jane Imber (nee Sparey). His parents had married in 1896 in the registration district of Warminster.

The 1901 census shows the family living at Crown Place in the tiny Wiltshire village of Potterne. Alfred's father Henry was a 33 year old 'Asylum Attendant (lunatic) Worker'. Alfred's mother, Betsy was 26 years old, and he had a one year old sister, Helen Louisa. Both Alfred's mother and sister Helen died later that year. It is possible that his mother died from complications after giving birth to his brother Harry on 14 November 1901.

Alfred's widowed father Henry married Isabella Newton in 1905. Isabella, previously married, had been nursing in the Wiltshire Lunatic Asylum in Roundway, Devizes in 1901, possibly meeting Alfred's father during the course of their work.

By 1907 Alfred's family had moved to 2 Poole Road, West Ewell, Surrey. On 25 November 1907 Alfred started at Ewell Boys School while his brother Harry attended Ewell C. E. Infants School. Harry started at Ewell Boys School on 19 April 1909.

The 1911 census records Alfred, aged 13, and his 9-year-old brother Harry living with their father and stepmother, Isabella, at 2 Cottage Road, West Ewell, Surrey. His father, who worked for the L.C.C. as an asylum attendant, filled in the census form stating that he and his second wife of five years had had no children. Also there that night was Isabella's granddaughter, one-year-old Ivy Lilian Newton. Ivy was the illegitimate daughter of Alfred's stepmother's daughter, Beatrice Isabel.

Alfred left school on 31 July 1912 and started work at the International Store.

The 1913 electoral roll shows that Alfred's father Henry Imber lived at Cottage Road, Ewell. Alfred was a member of the Ewell Old Boys' Association 1913 - 1914, living at 2 Cottage Road, West Ewell.

Alfred's service records in the National Archives states that he was born in Epsom and that when he attested at St. Paul's Churchyard on 1 September 1914, his age was 19 years and 1 month. Having been born on 28 January 1898 he was in fact only 16 years and 7 months old when he enlisted, but telling the recruiting sergeant he was over 19. The 'Soldiers Died CD' also records that he was born in Epsom. Probably because he moved to Epsom at a very young age, he believed that he had been born in Epsom instead of Sherrington. His grandmother Clara Ann Sparey (nee Fisher) was also born in Sherrington.

His National Archive service records show that when he attested he worked as a clerk, was 5 feet 4 inches tall, weighed 122 lbs, and had a chest measurement of 33½ inches with an expansion of 2 inches. He had a fresh complexion, with brown eyes and brown hair. On his left arm were 4 vaccination marks, and despite being flatfooted in both feet he was declared fit for the army. His physical development was good and his vision was a perfect 6/6 in both eyes. His next of kin was his father Henry, living at 2 Cottage Road, West Ewell. His mother by then had died. Also noted are his Aunts and Uncles: Harry Sparey of Yeovil, Herbert Sparey, Alice Ann Fisher Carter and Louisa Sparey, all from Wiltshire.

His Battalion was the 7th Rifle Brigade which was in the 41st Brigade 14th Division. He went to France on the 19 May 1915, but prior to that, whilst at Elstead he had been awarded 5 days Confined to Barracks (CB) for using obscene language to a NCO. His time in France was not a healthy period for him, between May 1915 and March 1918 he was hospitalised three times with Scabies and once with Coryza (heavy head cold).

Alfred died of shell wounds to his face, right thigh and left arm on 2 March 1918 at the 41st Casualty Clearing Station; a victim of the more or less constant shelling on the Western Front. Two men from the 7th Battalion Rifle Brigade died of wounds on this day, but on 1 March five were recorded as 'killed in action'.

Alfred is buried in Grand-Seraucourt British Cemetery, V. F. 15.

The following words were printed in the Ewell Parish magazine dated May 1918:
It is with deepest regret that we have to record the death through wounds, on March 2nd, of Fred Imber. He was one of the very first to volunteer from this end of the parish at the beginning of the war, and he has been at the front for three years. The death adds another to the old boys of our choir who have laid down their lives for the country and the cause of right. The sincere sympathy of all our readers will we know be extended to his parents, his brother, and sisters. Dulce et decorum est pro patria moria.

Alfred's effects, returned to his father consisted of Photos, Belt, Cards, Cigarette Case and a Wallet.

His 1915 Star was sent to his father in 1919, his British War medal on 7 February 1921, and his Victory medal on 19 July 1921.

His brother Harry died aged 23 on 8 February 1925, his stepmother died in 1936 and his father, aged 70, died on 19 June 1938.

In addition to being commemorated on four local memorials: the Dipping Well memorial; St. Mary's churchyard memorial; All Saints churchyard memorial and Ewell Boys' School memorial, Alfred is also commemorated on his parents' gravestone in St. Mary's churchyard.

Corporal Imber's inscription on his parents' grave
Corporal Imber's inscription on his parents' grave
Copyright image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2015

Alfred's Bronze Plaque
Alfred's Bronze Plaque
Image courtesy of Mick Huggett © 2012


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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.


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