Arthur GARDNER was born in late 1878 in Brackley, Northamptonshire. He was the son of Richard Gardner, who was born in about 1855 in Banbury, Oxfordshire, and Elizabeth, née Stevens, Gardner, who was born in about 1858 in Clifton, Warwickshire. They married in early 1878.
The family had moved to Brailes and then to Banbury, and sometime before 1901, moved again to live at 61 York Street, Rugby. Arthur was now 22 and a ‘carpenter and joiner’, as was his father, and he was the eldest of five children.
His marriage with Agnes Jones, was registered in Q3, 1906. She had been born in Rugby on 10 March 1876. They lived later at 76, King Edward Road, Rugby.
In 1911, Arthur was 32, and was living with his wife at 30 King Edward Road, Rugby – he was a ‘carpenter & joiner’ for a builder. His wife was now 35 and they had been married for four years but had no children. It is possible that they later had two daughters: Marion E in Q4 1913, and Phyllis A in Q3 1916, however, with two fairly common surnames, the children could have related to another couple, although there are no obvious local marriages, and an on-line anonymous tree also shows two daughters.
In 1911, Arthur’s parents, and two of Arthur’s sisters were still living in Rugby at 27 Dale Street.
At some date Arthur joined up, and whilst there are no Service Records or Medal Card, it is known that he later became an Air Mechanic 2nd Class, No.126856, in the Royal Air Force, at the 1st Aeroplane Supply Depot.
‘In December 1915 it was decided to convert St Omer … into fixed supply and repair depots and to create three new air parks in the army rear areas to provide mobile support to the flying squadrons. St Omer was re-titled No 1 Aircraft Depot (AD)’. … In March 1918 [with the German advance of operation Michael] … 1AD was moved towards the coast.
It is likely that Arthur was posted to No.1 AD and then stationed at St. Omer, because of his carpentry skills – aircraft were made largely of wood and there was a considerable amount of repair work to be carried out to help maintain supplies of aircraft.
With crowded conditions, any disease could spread rapidly. In mid-1918, the influenza epidemic was a growing problem. It is suggested that the ‘disease’ that Arthur caught may well have been the ‘flu’ and that he was evacuated to a hospital – in his case probably to a base hospital near Boulogne.
Arthur Gardner is recorded as having ‘Died of Disease’, on 23 June 1918, aged 40. He was buried at the Terlincthun British Cemetery, Wimille, in Grave Ref: I. B. 16.
The Terlincthun British Cemetery is situated at Wimille, which is located on the northern outskirts of Boulogne. The first rest camps for Commonwealth forces were established near Terlincthun in August 1914 and during the First World War, Boulogne and Wimereux housed numerous hospitals and other medical establishments. The cemetery at Terlincthun was begun in June 1918 when the space available for service burials in the civil cemeteries of Boulogne and Wimereux was exhausted. It was used chiefly for burials from the base hospitals, … for many years Terlincthun remained an ‘open’ cemetery and graves continued to be brought into it from isolated sites and other burials grounds throughout France where maintenance could not be assured.
Arthur Gardner is also remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gates.
His wife, Agnes, lived until she was 100, and her death was registered in Rugby in Q3, 1976.
RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM
– – – – – –
This article on Arthur GARDNER 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 RFHG, March 2018.