Sergeant Arthur Simpson
13844 4th Grenadier Guards
Lived at 31 Lee Street

I am trying to find out information about my grandfather Arthur Simpson life as a solder in the first world war. He was born 8 Belford St. Burnley 16th June 1895 and his father was called Richard and Richard's wife was called Margaret nee Cherry. Arthur was in the Coldstream Guards during WW1 and according to the newspaper article I read when he died he rose to the rank of sergeant and served in France. It also said he was mentioned in dispatches on three occasions or was he just romancing to my father I don't know. My grandfather Arthur went on to become a regimental sergeant major in the home guard in Burnley. I know he went to Hanover after the war and was with the Allied Control Commission (textile section) as Principal Control Officer for the Hanover Region. He lived at "Ivy Dene" 32, Melville St. Burnley at this time. After the second world war he married again to a German lady after my grandmother had died. He died in 18th December 1951 and lived at 4 Westfield Nelson Lancashire and was secretary to Nelson Cotton Spinners and Manufacturing Association.
I was only one year old when he died so I only know what my dad had told me about him.

I am sending you two photo's one of my granddad Arthur Simpson and another photo of his uncle Harry Cherry

(Courtesy of his Grandaughter Jacqueline King)

Further research below by Alan Graveson

Arthur Simpson was the only child of Richard and Margaret Simpson who, in 1911, ran a furniture business at 31/33 Lee Street, Burnley. In 1911, Arthur was a 16 year old warehouseman at a cotton mill. In 1914, when he was a 19 year old clerk, of 31 Lee Street, Burnley, he was one of the early volunteers to enlist in the army, joining up at Burnley on 20th November 1914. He was sent to Windsor to train with the Coldstream Guards in the Coldstreams' reserve battalion. The reserve battalion had been established to train reinforcements for the three Coldstream Guards battalions serving overseas and the more experienced men of the reserve battalion maintained the Guards' traditional duties of guarding the Royal family.
In July 1915, a Guards' Division was established in France, bringing together the many Guards' Battalions and creating the Welsh Guards. The division required a Pioneer Battalion to carry out construction and entrenching work throughout its divisional area, as well as to fight when needed. The 4th Battalion Coldstream Guards was formed to undertake this task as was created at Windsor on 17th July 1915 as the Guards Pioneer Battalion made up of men posted from the reserve battalion. It later became known simply as the 4th Battalion Coldstream Guards. Arthur had been appointed to the 4th Battalion Coldstream Guards on the day it was created and was granted the appointment of Lance Corporal on July 17th 1915.
A month later, on 15th August 1915, the 4th Battalion sailed from Southampton to Le Havre to join the Guards Division in France and Flanders. The major engagements of the Guards Division in the First World War are shown on Chris Baker's website at:

Not long after arriving in France, they fought at the Battle of Loos in September 1915. On January 4th 1916, Arthur was promoted to unpaid Lance Serjeant and on 30th January 1916 he was promoted to paid Lance Serjeant. He was later promoted to Serjeant [the traditional way of spelling serjeant was with a j].
On 14th August 1917 he was appointed as a temporary instructor at the Guards' Division Central Training School at Le Havre. He spent six weeks there as an instructor putting the new drafts through their paces and preparing them for life at the front. Officers were also trained in their specialist needs or the latest infantry tactics. Such appointments were often made to allow an NCO a period of rest from the front-line as a form of respite or 'thank-you'. The job could be enjoyable and civilised if you needed the rest, or a frustration if you missed being with your comrades and men in the field and had the feeling you had somehow "deserted" them for a while. On 28th September 1917 Arthur passed to the Guards' Division Base Depot at Harfleur and probably returned to his battalion immediately.
Arthur Simpson was certainly Mentioned in Despatches on two occasions that are listed in his record. There may have been a third as it is never possible to tell if every page of a record has survived. The Despatches were recorded as being published in "The London Gazette" on 7th November 1917 and 18th December 1918. You can search the Gazette online but it can be difficult to match dates precisely as publication dates were not always the same for supplements that included military awards. For example, Douglas Haig's Despatch of 7 November 1917, mentioned Arthur, but the list was not published until 14th December with a note that other lists would be added on 18th December and other dates. Mentions in Despatches were for "distinguished service in the field" and entitled the wearing of one bronze oak-leaf emblem on the ribband of the Victory Medal, no matter how many times mentioned.

Arthur was granted leave to the UK on 13th November 1918 (two days after the Armistice) while near Maubeuge in France and returned to the Battalion on 27th November 1918. On 4th December 1918 he returned to the UK and was based back at Windsor with the reserve battalion where he remained until he was discharged on 6th June 1919. He qualified for the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. You can read about the Guards Division online at:


(Courtesy of Jacqueline King)





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