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Arthur Giles

Arthur GilesPrivate Arthur Giles, 22435, 2nd Battalion, Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding Regiment)

Arthur Giles was born in Drax, Selby in 1898, and baptized on the 25th November 1898. He was the eldest child of Drax born Robert Giles and Mary Ann Giles (nee Guest) who had married in Goole in early 1898. In 1901, Robert Giles aged 26, was a horse keeper on Mitchell Laithes Farm, Ossett. By 1911, the Giles family had moved away from Ossett and Robert was a farm labourer at Newland, Selby. There are now four children in the Giles family: Arthur 12 years; Mildred 10 years who was born in Ossett; George 8 years and Robert 1 year. Another two daughters, Edith Giles born in 1914 and Mary Giles born 1919 completed the family.

Arthur Giles enlisted in the British Army in Goole on the 18th December 1916 at the age of 18 years and 21 days. He was 5ft 3" tall and joined the 7th Training Battalion of the Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment). At the time of enlistment his occupation was farm horseman and he was unmarried.

After his successfully passing the army medical at Pontefract in February 1917, he was sent to Rugeley in Staffordshire for training. He was transferred to the 3rd Battalion, West Riding Regiment on the 20th November 1917 and after mobilization in France, he was transferred to the 2nd Battalion, West Riding Regiment on the 13th February 1918.

In August 1914, the 2nd Battalion were in Portobello Barracks in Dublin. Under the command of 13th Brigade in the 5th Division. They landed at Le Havre on the 16th August 1914 and on the 14th January 1916 they transferred to 12th Brigade in the 4th Division. Finally on the 10th February 1918 they transferred to 10th Brigade in same Division.

In May 1918, Private Giles was hospitalised with ICT Hand, which means he suffered an inflammation of the connective tissue of the hand, making it hard to fire or hold his gun. He was back in action after about 10 days and then received a gunshot wound to his chest on the 31st July 1918, but was back with his battalion by the 2nd August 1918 when he received a Blue Service Chevron badge. These chevron badges were issued to armed forces, and nurses, serving overseas to distinguish them from those who remained in the UK. An additional chevron was added for each successive year of service.

Private Arthur Giles was killed in action on the 30th August 1918 during the Battle of the Scarpe (26th - 30th August) which was part of the second Battle of Arras. He was 19 years of age, the son of Robert and Mary Ann Giles, Holly Tree Farm, Balne, Snaith, Yorks.

He was awarded the British War Medal and Victory medal posthumously and the medals were sent to his father Robert Giles.

On the 30th August 1918, the Germans launched a counterattack, to recapture ground they had conceded during the Battle of the Scarpe. The counterattack was successfully driven off, but not without casualties. The British and Canadians had been under constant heavy fire while they cleared out the German trenches.

Battle of the Scarpe 1918

Above: Canadian stretcher bearers attending to a man hit by shellfire as German prisoners bring in their wounded at the Battle of the Scarpe 1918.

He is buried at plot 1.E.35 in the Vis-en-Artois British Cemetery, Haucort, France. Vis-en-Artois and Haucourt are villages in the Department of the Pas-de-Calais, on the road from Arras to Cambrai. The Cemetery is at the north side of the main road between the two villages.

Vis-En-Artois and Haucourt were taken by the Canadian Corps on the 27th August 1918. The cemetery was begun immediately afterwards and was used by fighting units and field ambulances until the middle of October. It consisted originally of 430 graves (in Plots I and II) of which 297 were Canadian and 55 belonged to the 2nd Duke of Wellington's Regiment. It was increased after the Armistice by the concentration of graves from the battlefields of April-June 1917, August and September 1918, and from the smaller cemeteries in the neighbourhood.


1. Ancestry Family Trees for Arthur Giles.

2. Commonwealth War Graves Commission web site