Additional information Mrs. V. Reynolds
Born: 1892, Putney, Surrey.
Death accepted on or since: 3rd July 1916; age 24; KiA.
Residence: 44, Hatfield Road, Ipswich.
Date of Entry Therein: 10th October 1915 – France.
Rank: 2nd Lieutenant; Service Number: 3703
Regiment: Suffolk Regiment, 7th Battalion.
Formerly, 3703, Honourable Artillery Company.
Medals Awarded: Victory, British War & 1915 Star.
Pier & Face 1C & 2A.
1901 32, North End, Croydon, Surrey. Next door to Boot Maker’s Business.
Arthur was 9 years old and living with his parents & siblings.
George Sidney Shears, 38, a Boot Shop Manager – at home, born Clerkenwell, London.
Nellie Shears (nee Butcher), 38, born Camberwell, London.
Kathleen Dorothy Shears, 7, born Putney, Surrey – died 1906 whilst skating, she fell over, broke her back and died.
Edgar Vivian Shears, 4, born Putney, Surrey.
1911 ‘Dunkirk’ Croutel Road, Felixstowe, Suffolk.
Arthur was 19 years old, a House Agent’s Clerk. He was living with his parents & brother.
George, 49, an Inspector of Branch Shops – Boot Trade Retail.
1 general domestic servant.
The Registers of Soldiers’ Final Effects reads that Arthur’s War Gratuity had no claimants. Arthur’s Grant Probate was awarded to H.M. Treasury.
Suffolk Regiment, 7th Battalion
The 7th Battalion Suffolk Regiment lost many Ipswich men during day 3 of the offensive. On July 1st , at 7.30am the Battle of the Somme started.
That day was a terrible and tragic day, out of the 1000’s of British and Commonwealth men who went ‘over the top’ to attack the German positions 19,340 were killed and 38,500 were wounded.
“On 2 July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, the 7th Battalion was moved up to the British front line trenches. On 3 July, as part of the 35th Brigade, along with the 5th Royal Berkshires, the 7th Suffolk’s Battalion took part in a two Brigade frontal attached on Ovillers, zero hour was set for 03.15am. The first four waves reached the enemies’ third line of defence where after meeting very stiff resistance, the attack stalled. Due to the darkness the succeeding waves lost touch and were unable to assist. Casualties numbered 470 including all company commanders killed.” The remnants of the Battalion remained in the trenches until 8 July.
Extract from the history of the Suffolk regiment 1914-27. by Lt-C0l.C.C.R .Murphy.
Fellow Ipswich 7th Battalion men lost on this day:
A family note:
Arthur Cecil Shears was an amazing young gentleman in the true sense of the word, though unfortunately many of today will wonder just what that is?. He was smart in both dress code and manners, respected, kind, generous, multi-talented and a gifted watercolour artist. He and his brave comrades gave their all for their country, when their lives had barely begun, and thus should never be forgotten, leaving as so many thousands of others, a heartbroken family to grieve his loss, for the rest of their lives.
For his ultimate sacrifice his beloved family received a ‘Bronze penny’ from the government which to be honest is a very poor, cheap emblem in return for a lost life of such value. They also were sent a pre-printed brief letter from the King, in acknowledgement for 2nd. Lieutenant A.C. Shears death, when surely the King should have personally signed every one of these letters as he was not serving in the trenches with his men at this time. Even to note that A.C. Shears War Gratuity was awarded to H.M. Treasury just about sums up how little the government of this time thought of the men it sent to die as cannon fodder, particularly when the Kaiser lived his final years in a comfortable mansion. May all these soldiers be remembered as the amazing people they were, and the loss of a whole generation of such outstanding promise.
Additional information you may find of interest.
I visited Arthur’s former home in Croutel Road, about ten years ago. It is a beautiful Edwardian residence which still maintains many of its original features including the servants bells in the kitchen. Arthur also had a sister, Kathleen Dorothy who, whilst skating one winter fell over, broke her back and died.
Mrs. V. Reynolds