A soldiers story – Arthur White

Arthur White in WWW1 Uniform

Arthur was born in Leicester, Leicestershire, England 25 August 1888, son of Charles Taylor and Annie Sarah (LEEDHAM) WHITE.

Charles Taylor WHITE and Annie Sarah LEEDHAM

Picture above: Arthur’s parents, Charles Taylo?r WHITE and Annie Sarah (LEEDHAM).

He left England for New Zealand with his mother and sister, Hilda Florence WHITE, from Tilbury Dock, London on the R.M.S. Remuera (Capt; Greenstreet. N.Z. Shipping Company) 19 December 1912 arriving in Wellington N.Z. 3 February 1913.

In April 1916 he left N.Z. (as passenger escorting mother home) aboard the N.Z. Shipping Company “Rimutaka” from Wellington. Once back in England he joined the New Zealand Expeditionary Force at Hornchurch, Essex England on 28th June 1916. Arthur had three weeks training in England before being shipped to France as a Gunner with the 4th Howitzer Battery.

He went on to become a cook in the seargents mess, and having passed a cooks examination he received a Bomadiers pay but did not get the stripe, which he apparently did not mind as he was just glad of the extra money. An exploding German artillery shell wounded Arthur in the thigh about 10 Oct 1917, while he was in the “cook house”. As a result he was shipped back to England to the No.2 NZ General Hospital at Mt Felix Walton on Thames, where he underwent three operations after his wounds turned septic. On his recovery he returned to service joining the 6th Howitzer Battery, as a driver taking shells up to the guns.

?NZEF General Hospital #2 Mt Felix

Picture above – Mount Felix, Walton on Thames – New Zealand General Hospital #2, where Arthur was sent when he was wounded.

Arhtur's ward at Mt Felix

Picture above – Arthur White is in the first bed on right side of the ward

Arthur lost most of his war time souvenirs with the explosion that wounded him. However he didn’t loose his memories and one story the family remember he always told, was of being in a dugout with a fellow soldier who suddenly told him to move quickly and get out of the dugout. Both of then jumped out moments before a German artillery shell exploded in the trench where they had been. On asking his mate how he knew it was coming, his mate said he didn’t, he just heard a voice telling him to get out quick.

After the war, whilst still a member of Expeditionary Force, Arthur married Ethel BAXTER at St Werburghs Spondon, Derbyshire 24 February 1919.

Arthur's wife Ethel BAXTER

Picture above – Arthur’s wife to be, Ethel BAXTER. Born Coton in the Elms, Derbyshire 16 April 1888

St Werburgh's church

Picture above – St Werburghs Spondon, Derbyshire

He had apparently met Ethel while visiting his Aunt Mary (LEEDHAM). Ethel was a maid and Mary was a cook for the Bunning family who lived at the Hollies, Borrowash, Derbyshire.

The Hollies The Hollies, bought by Samuel Theodore Bunning, Managing Director of the Beeston Brewery Company, in 1905 for £2600, “13 reception rooms and offices, kitchen, scullery, laundry, WC on the ground floor, 10 bedrooms, bath room and WC on the first and second floors. An old house in excellent repair with new wing built about 1900”. Its name was changed in 1932 to Borrowash House and today is a woman´s refuge

Arthur and Ethel corresponded with each other during the war.

Post card from Arthur to Ethel

Picture above: One of the post cards sent by Arthur to Ethel during the war. The picture of Arthur on this page came from such a post card.

Arthur and Ethel left England from Plymouth on the troopship R.M.S Athenic July 15th 1919 , arriving in Wellington N.Z. 1 January 1919. Arthur was formally discharged from the Expeditionary Forces 29 September 1919 having served 3 years 93 days active service, and was awarded the British War Medal, and the Victory Medal.

Arhtur's discharge certificate

Picture above: Arthur’s certificate of service

British War Medal

Picture above: Arthur’s British War Medal

Victory Medal

Picture above: Arthur’s Victory Medal

Arthur and Ethel had two children, Doris Mary and Leslie Arthur, both still living. Arthur joined N.Z. Police Force at Auckland 19th December 1919, doing duty at Auckland, New Market, Thames, Papakura, Whitianga and Mt Roskill.

Arthur White with wife Ethel and children Dorris & Leslie

Picture above: Arthur in his NZ Police uniform with his wife Ethel and daughter Dorris and son Leslie

He retired from the N.Z. Police Force 16 January 1949. Arthur and Ethel retired to Cockle Bay, a seaside suburb in Auckland where Arthur died 10 July 1952.

By Kevin Murphy (Arthur’s grandson) – murphyk@slingshot.co.nz