A local hero

Arthur Burton looking dapper in his uniform. Am I imagining it, or is that the Burton family home in Stonnall in the Background? Picture kindly supplied by David Evans.

An email arrives again from David Evans, who’s really cooking on gas at the moment. David again supplies some fascinating historical information, for which my gratitude is extended yet again. This actually dovetails nicely with something I’d like to do on the blog in the coming weeks, but I need the readers to help me, if you will.

I’ve not really covered much from the wars, or indeed any conflict that men from Brownhills went to fight. I don’t actually know much about Brownhills and Walsall Wood and their wartime history – so what can you folks do to help illuminate these dark years? What memories can we record, what were the local events that coloured this important but grim period?
Please comment here or mail me at BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.
Hi Bob
These very rare photos may be of interest to those readers who have followed the posts and revelations concerning the night-time air raid in 1940, mentioned  in the comments to earlier posts.
One of the farmers whose fields sustained the impact of what was possibly a Hermann bomb – the largest type to be dropped on the UK during the Second World War – was one Mr Arthur Burton, M M.
These are photos taken  from the transcription booklet of the red, penny diary kept by  Mr Burton  during his tours of duty  and  show him during the first World War when he was a ‘line’ messenger at Ypres Salient and elsewhere, and the medals gained for his valour, including the Military Medal.
He is pictured wearing his service uniform of the Grenadier Guards, in 1915.
with kind regards
David Evans
(Apologies for the poor quality – the booklet was a Gestetner home production of the 1980’s)
The medals of Arturn Burton, image supplied by David Evans.
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  • Roger Jones

    I found Arthur on Ancestry.com which has scanned images of all surviving WW1 military records. There are several pages for Arthur, here are some of the highlights …
    Arthur Cecil Burton enlisted in Walsall on 8th September 1914 aged 22
    He was 6’1″ weighed 140 lbs, had grey eyes and dk brown hair with a fresh complexion. Occupation – farmer. Next of kin – father Frederick Burton. Following a medical he was pronounced fit and was appointed to the Grenadier Guards on the same day as Private Burton service no. 588663. He gave his address as Maybank, Leigh Road, Walsall.
    The following day he was in Caterham to start training.
    On 1/11/15 he was disciplined and confined to barracks for 8 days for shaving his upper lip contrary to orders.
    He was first wounded on 11/7/16 with a gunshot wound to his right thumb and shell shock.
    On 16/7/16 he was awarded the Military Medal (reason not given but perhaps associated with the above)
    On 28/2/17 he was CB for 3 days for dismissing fatigues without permission.
    On 18/5/18 he was transferred to the Labour Corps (HS 413)
    He was discharged 20/3/19 with shell shock and described as 30% disabled after a gunshot wound to the head.
    His address after 20/9/20 is Common Barn Farm, Little Aston
    His army pension records do not appear to have survived.

    The above pages were fire damaged (WW2) and not all the detail is legible (burnt edges)

  • David Evans

    Hi Bob
    please thank Roger for his excellent research..Mr Burton’s Military Medal was for his action in the Ypres battle..and for his actions on July 11 1916 specifically.
    I will try to scan his memoranda of that day’s action which he wrote and added in a separate page at the end of his diary..
    “What happened to me in a dugout in front Line on left of Ypres on 11-7.16”
    the entry for Sunday 16 July 1916 is interesting…States simply;-
    A fairly quiet night. I am taking the C.O. a message this morning when he tells me he wishes to congratulate me upon getting the Military Medal. I am very suprised as it is only 4 days since it happened. heavy bombardment on right today

    but I hope bob can put this on line for everyone to read.
    David Evans

  • Caz

    I think it’s great that this fine man and his war time experiences are being talked about on here. We should never forget what he, and all the other brave men went through.
    I can remember my Gran, telling me the names of the people she knew locally, who’d lost a son or husband and one lady had lost 2 boys.So sad.
    With remembrance Sunday just a few weeks away, it’s a good topic to be discussing.

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