REEVE, Arthur

No.3/8533, Sergeant, Arthur REEVE
Aged 29

2nd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Thursday, 20th July 1916

An Old Contemptible

Arthur Reeve was born in Soham in 1885(Newmarket Q2-1885 3B:558), son David and Louisa REEVE (née TURNER).

1891 census...Aged 6, he was at Qua Fen Common, Soham with his father David REEVE [31] farm labourer; his mother Louisa [34] born Fordham; brothers Walter [10] farm labourer, Fred [7] and Birt [3]; sisters Florie [4] and Jane [1]; widowed grandfather Thomas REEVE [67]. All except his mother were born in Soham.

1901 census...Aged 16, a farm labourer,he was at Qua Fen Common, Soham with his parents; brothers Walter (bricklayer's labourer), Fred (farm labourer), Bert and Ernest [6] born Soham; sisters Florrie, Jane and Ethel [5] born Soham.

He married Sophia Layton HAWES in Wicken Church on 24th October 1907(Newmarket Q4-1907 3B:1263).

1911 census...Aged 25, a farm labourer, he was at Mill Lane, Soham with his wife Sophie [22] born Wicken and their daughters Violet Irene [2] and Winifred [1], both born in Soham.

He enlisted in Bury St.Edmunds. His Army records have not been found, but he must have been a regular soldier or reservist to have been in the bEF so early.
Lt.Col. Murphy's "History of the Suffolk Regiment" recounts that:- On July 20th 1916 the battalion, having assembled and deployed in PONT STREET, took part in the renewed attacks on Longueval and Delville Wood. It was still dark when the artillery bombardment lifted and the advance began. The two Suffolk companies in the forward line moved in double lines of platoons with a front of 140 yards each. Much bitter fighting followed, which, though indecisive locally, enabled a footing to be gained in High Wood by 33rd Division containing the 4th Battalion, Suffolks, and the British line to be linked up thence with Longueval. Casualties were heavy and 4 officer were killed, 2 wounded, one captured and 5 missing, later reported killed.

CWGC records 113 in total killed on 20th for the 2nd Battalion (87 with no known grave) and the 4th Battalion lost 43

The Cambridge Independent Press of 6th October 1916 recorded:-
SOHAM- Sergt Arthur Reeve, Suffolks, was officially reported by the War Office as missing on 29th July last. The Commanding Officer write, in reply to a letter asking for information: "We all miss Sergt. Reeve very much. He was one of our best N.C.O.s a most steady, reliable and popular man in the Company". Arthur Reeve at the outbreak of the war was Corporal in the Reserves. After being called up he was at Felixstowe for a few weeks. He was promoted to sergeant after about three months in the trenches. Sgt. Reeve was wounded in the eye, and was at the Red Cross Hospital, Sudbury for a time, returning later to the front.

commemorated on his wife's gravestone

photo: Rodney Gibson

Arthur Reeve is buried in Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval, grave 14:C:36

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