No.30044, Private, Arthur MOTHERSOLE
Aged 35

9th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Saturday, 28th April 1917

Arthur Mothersole was born in Soham,(Newmarket Q1-1882 3B:540), son of William and Phoebe MOTHERSOLE (née HOBBS ).

1891 census...Aged 9, he was at Station Road, Soham, with his father William MOTHERSOLE [46] boot & shoemaker, born Norton, Suffolk; his mother Phoebe [46] ; sisters Ellen [19] and Amley (Emily)[6]; brothers William [22], labourer in garden, Alfred [14] carter/bricklayer, Harry [12] errand boy and George [4]. All except his father were born in Soham.

1901 census... Aged 19, a fish merchant, he was at Station Road, Soham with his parents, sister Emily [16] and George, a grocer's apprentice.

In 1906 he married Louisa SEYMOUR [20-4-1882].

1911 census...Aged 29 a labourer in cement works, he was at Clay Street, Soham with his wife Lewie [29] born Soham; daughters Gladys Olive [29-10-1907] and Ella Pheben (Ella Phoebe)[24-9-1908] and son William Arthur [23-2-1910]. His widow's address later was King George V Cottages, Mereside, Soham.

They had two more daughters, Eva May [9-2-1913] and Florence Ruby [21-4-1916]

The 9th Norfolks, situated just north of Lens, between mid day on 28th and midnight of 29th lost one officer killed, one officer and 6 IOR gassed, 13 OR killed or died of wounds, and 31 wounded. That is according to "The History of the Norfolk Regiment" by F Loraine Petre OBE. CWGC have 73 killed on 28th, 2 on the 29th.
The battalion war diary:-
At midnight 27/28th gas projectors were fired by the 16th & 18th I B . No special retaliation was made in our front. During the morning the enemy's artillery was very active and its fire grew into an intense bombardment of our support line during the afternoon.At 5 pm under cover of this, the enemy seized an advanced post of ours, but were immediately counter attacked and the post was recovered.......
At 11 pm No 8 platoon under Lt Campbell made a raid on the enemy's trenches to the north of the DYNAMITE MAGAZINE about N.1.a.95.45. A portion of the platoon rushed the trench junction at N.1.a.95.45, but the larger portion, owing to criss fire from machine guns was compelled to withdraw to our own trench. The object of the raid, to discover the strength of the enemy, was more or less achieved. The enemy was holding his front line, at any rate at night, in considerable strength. The raiders lost 1 OR killed and 1 wounded. The enemy retaliated heavily with artillery on our front line.

This is believed to be the location of the trench raid, traces of the trenches can still be seen in the fields

Local press report
Much sympathy is felt for Mrs. Mothersole, of Mill Croft,in the loss she has just sustained by the death of her husband, Pte.Arthur Mothersole, Norfolk Reg., who is reported by one of his officers to have been killed by a sniper on April 28th. The following are extracts from a letter received by the widow: "I am sorry to have to inform you that your husband was killed in action on April 28th, when the Company had rather a bad time. He was one of the most reliable men of the platoon. No matter what happened he was always cheerful and ready to do whatever was required of him. He was one of the original men who kept the others together. He died doing his duty at a time of danger. Please accept my deepest sympathy in your great loss."
This case is particularly sad in that there are five young children left entirely in the care of the widow.

photo: Rodney Gibson

photo:Rodney Gibson

Arthur Mothersole is buried in St. Patrick's Cemetery, Loos, grave 1:G:5

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