Pearman, Arthur William. Died 29th Jul 1916

Arthur William Pearman was the son of Arthur Pearman, b.c.1858 in Ashby, Suffolk, and Eliza, née Day, Pearman, laundress and seamstress b.c.1871 in Aldeby, Norfolk. In 1901 Arthur [senior] was a ‘Woodman’, but he died in 1904, leaving Eliza widowed.

Arthur was born in late 1892 at Ashby, Suffolk; his birth was registered in Q4, 1892 at Mutford, Suffolk.

 In 1911, Arthur was 18 and still living with his family at The Doles, Ashby, Nr Lowestoft. He was an ‘Accountant Clerk’.   His elder sister and a younger brother and sister were also at home in 1911.

It seems that Arthur moved to Rugby where he took a job in the British Thompson Houston [BTH] accounting department. He enlisted in Rugby[1] as a Private, No.2991 in the 2nd/7th Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment.

On 28 August 1914, the Warwickshire Brigade, received the official request for the Territorials to volunteer for service overseas. For many it would be a difficult decision, many of the men were skilled working-class with young families, a direct result of the drive to get companies to support the Territorial Force, often their work pay exceeded the army rate of pay. Those men who felt unable to consent, were subsequently posted to the reserve second line unit of their battalions which were being formed at home, the 2/5th, 2/6th, 2/7th and 2/8th Warwicks.[2]

2/7th Battalion was formed in Coventry in October 1914 as a second line battalion. In February 1915 it became part of 2nd Warwickshire Brigade, 2nd South Midland Division in the Northampton area.[3]   It went to the Chelmsford area in March 1915. The formation became 182nd Brigade, 61st (South Midland) Division in August 1915 and went to Salisbury Plain in March 1916. Then together with the 2/5th, 2/6th, and 2/8th Battalions it landed in France on 21 May 1916 for service on the Western Front,[4] where the formation became the 143rd Brigade of the 48th Division and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including, during 1916, the Attack at Fromelles.

Arthur W Pearman’s Medal Card does not give the date on which he went to France, but it was probably with the battalion on 21 May 1916, which agrees with there being no record of him being awarded the 1914-1915 Star.

The 48th Division sailed for France in March 1915. The outstanding features in their war experiences are their long and memorable services in the Battle of the Somme in 1916, … The Division was present as part of the VIII Corps at the Somme on 1st July, when the battle commenced, but fortunately for them they were in support that day and had an opportunity of learning from the misfortunes of the divisions in the front rank at that part of the line. The fighting 1-13 July is now designated the ‘Battle of Albert, 1916.’ About 15 July the Division was transferred to the III Corps. On 16 July the 143rd Brigade made a very fine advance in the ‘Battle of Bazentin Ridge’, and the capture of Ovillers was completed, the Division securing ground to the north and east of the village. During the ensuing fortnight the Division had constant and very heavy fighting. Pozieres was the next objective. The Australians attacked from the south on 23 July and the 48th on their left from the south-west. Both attacks were pushed home with splendid resolution and by the 29 July the 48th had secured its objectives north of the village.   On 27 July the 145th Brigade did exceptionally well. After a short rest the Division was, about l0 August, again in the line, pushing towards the ridge. A strong counter-attack was driven back on the 17 July and on the 18 July the 143rd Brigade captured a big stretch of trenches and 600 prisoners. The fighting from 23 July – 3 September is now designated the ‘Battle of Pozieres Ridge’. There were few tougher struggles in the whole course of the war.

The actual date when Arthur was wounded is not known, but it was possibly in one of these actions in the Pozieres Ridge area. However, the 7th Warwicks in 143rd Brigade were also involved in an attack on La Boiselle, having been temporarily attached to 25th Division.

At 4am on the 14th, the 7th R. Warwicks went into battle. … Half the battalion and two machine guns were to creep into No Man’s Land at 4am and consolidate, to be reinforced by the remainder at 7am. … but it already being light, 6 these troops were discovered, fired on and forced to withdraw. … at 7am, the second wave moved over the top to an already alerted enemy. The leading three platoons suffered forty-seven casualties out of one hundred and twenty before leaving the parapet. … Casualties totalled one hundred and eighteen …[5]

Arthur would have been evacuated through the aid-post and hospital system, and was taken back to England and to the Keighley War Hospital, where he died from his wounds, aged 23, on 29 July 1916. As he died in a UK hospital, his death was registered in the UK system in Q3, 1916, Keighley, Yorkshire West Riding, 9a, 203.

Arthur W Pearman was buried in the hospital’s plot at Morton Cemetery, Keighley, and he is now remembered on a Special Memorial.

There are 22 Commonwealth burials of the 1914-1918 war commemorated here on panels adjoining a Special Memorial in the form of a life size Portland Stone statue of a First World War Soldier upon a decorated podium.

In some cases, such as this, the individual burial plots in the hospital’s plot, were not sufficiently or permanently recorded, and when the CWGC came to mark the graves, there would not have been sufficient identifying evidence available, to warrant the disturbance of exhumation, unlike battlefield concentration where soldiers were generally buried in their uniform. Thus a screen wall or Special Memorial was erected.  

Individuals are commemorated in this way when their loss has been officially declared by their relevant service but there is no known burial for the individual, or in circumstances where graves cannot be individually marked, or where the grave site has become inaccessible and unmaintainable.

He is also remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gates.

Arthur W Pearman was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.




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This article on Arthur W Pearman was researched and written for a Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the Rugby Family History Group, July 2016.

[1]       UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919, at




[5]       Caddick-Adams, Peter, By God They Can Fight!, A History of 143rd Infantry Brigade, 1908 to 1995, 1995.


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