No. 16853, Private, Arthur Robert CARPENTER
Aged 22

Suffolk Regiment, 11th Battalion
Killed in Action on Saturday 1st July 1916

Appears to be: Arthur Robert NORMAN,

Arthur Robert NORMAN was born in born 1893, (Mildenhall Q2-1893 4A:801), son of Elizabeth NORMAN.

1891 census... His mother was housekeeper at Loft Farm, Bradfield Combust for Thomas H CARPENTER. She had with her a son William NORMAN [4], born Bradfield St Clare and a daughter Bessie NORMAN [2 months)born Bradfield Combust.

1901 census... Aged 7, as Arthur CARPENTER he was living at Hurdle Drove, Mildenhall with step-father? Thomas CARPENTER [46] farmer, born Mildenhall; mother- Elizabeth (née NORMAN) [44] born Dalham, step-sister? Ellen [18] born Mildenhall; step-brother? Thomas [17] farmers son born Bradfield St Clare; brother- William J.[14] farmer's son born Bradfield St Clare; sister- Bessie May [10] born Bradfield Combust; brother- Francis [4] born Mildenhall; sister Lizzie [3] born Mildenhall; brother- Edward [2] born Mildenhall; sister Ida [1] born Mildenhall.

It appears that Ellen and Thomas were children by Thomas' first wife, Ellen PEACHEY, who died in 1885. Unable so far to find registration of marriage of Elizabeth NORMAN and Thomas CARPENTER. According to the census return for 1911 they had been married 26 years, but all the children from William onwards appear to be registered at birth as NORMAN.

1911 census... Aged 17, a farm hand, living at New Farm, Hockwold with his step father ?; mother, brothers William J., Francis and Edward and sisters Bessie May and Ida. All the birth places have changed from Mildenhall to West Row and the Bradfields are all Bradfield Combust now. One sibling is recorded as died.

As Arthur CARPENTER he married Alice FLACK [24-5-1893] in Q2-1912 [Mildenhall 4A:1864], they had a daughter Alice Ida on 22-9-1912. His widow, in 1919, married Percy J. FINCHAM

Enlisted in Ely.
July 1st 1916 was the worst day ever for the British Army, 60,000 plus casualties on the 1st day of the Battle of the Somme, of which 20,000 were killed. The 11th Suffolks attacked from Becourt Wood near La Boiselle. As well as the usual machine gun fire they had to face flame throwers. CWGC records 188 dead of the 11th Suffolk in that one day.

The Bury Free Press of 19th August 1916 reported :-

An official letter received by Mrs. Carpenter, Eriswell Road, Lakenheath, informs her that her husband, Prvt.Arthur Roland Carpenter, Suffolk Regiment, was kllled in the great push on 1st July. He is the fifth son of Mr. and Mrs Thomas H.Carpenter, Hockwold, formerly of Fuller's House, West Row Fen. He joined the Army in November 1914, and leaves a widow and one child. He was 23 years of age and was one of six soldier sons.
Capt. Sedden, the young soldier's officer has written a letter of sympathy to the widow.

No Known Grave
Arthur CARPENTER is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France, pier and face 1C & 2A
and is also commemorated on the War Memorial in Hockwold

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details