Funding grave marker for young WW1 Soldier

by JennyNaylor in Wotton-under-Edge, South Gloucestershire, United Kingdom

Funding grave marker for young WW1 Soldier

Total raised £755

£2,500 target 15 days left
30% 26 supporters
Keep what you raise – this project will receive all pledges made by 9th June 2024 at 12:55pm

Raising funds for a headstone to mark the sacrifice made by a young soldier in 1916. Please read Arthurs story.

by JennyNaylor in Wotton-under-Edge, South Gloucestershire, United Kingdom

8677 Arthur Thomas FOWLER
10th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment

Died aged 20, 24 November 1916

Buried in an unmarked grave in St James, Charfield, Churchyard. This project aims to support the work of the volunteer, Friends of St James Church, to recognise his service to his country by erecting a memorial headstone in the place where we know his mother, Emily, was buried, also unmarked but plot recorded.

Arthur Thomas Fowler was born in early 1896. He was the son of Thomas and
Emily Fowler, who lived in Station Road, Charfield. One of six children as noted in the 1911 census.

An Army Pension record has survived for Arthur, which does give some details of his service. He attested for military service on 3 September 1914 at Wotton under Edge, stating his age to be 19 years and 1 month (he was in fact 18) and his occupation to be a mill hand in a textile company.

He was sent for training with the 10th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment at Tidworth, Salisbury Plain and was part of the battalion when it first landed in France. on 19 July 1915.

For the remainder of 1915 the battalion was located in relatively quiet sectors of the Western Front and on 4 January 1916 it went into the front line trenches at Neuve Chapelle. Here, on 6 January 1916, Pte. Fowler sustained a stomach wound
– the War Office communication, as reported in the Dursley Gazette of 29 January 1916 stated ‘wounded in action 6th instant with bullet wound left side’.

He was passed down the medical evacuation line from Field Ambulance, to Casualty Clearing Station and on to a Base Hospital in Calais, from where he was repatriated to Colchester Military Hospital. His condition was further complicated by
appendicitis. He reportedly had treatment at hospital at Romford, Essex,Birmingham and Plymouth, before being discharged from the Army as ‘no longer fit for military service’ on 18 October 1916.

Having returned home his condition continued to cause concern and he was
admitted to Bristol General Hospital, where he underwent another operation and subsequently died on 24 November 1916, aged 20.

He was in receipt of the silver war badge, given to those discharged early through injury but with exemplary conduct. This discharge may be the reason for his grave not having the recognisable Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone.

He was buried in Charfield Parish
Churchyard on 29 November 1916. The
Churchyard burial record has annotated against his name ‘died from the effect of
wounds received at Neuve Chapelle.’ If his grave was marked at the time, a marker
no longer exists.

His name does appear on the village war memorial in the list of men who lost their lives in the Great War.

We have been in contact with the Common Wealth War Graves commission many times but due to the reasons stated on his Death Certificate and modern medical opinion based on the location of the gun shot wound and his death due to gut strangulation and appendicitis, they do not feel his death was due to his active service. As he was discharged at the time of his death he also does not qualify for a CWGC headstone.

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