137755 Private Arthur Sydney Halsey, Labour Corps attached Army Service Corps
Born on 28th September 1897 in Frithsden
Died on 15th January 1954 in Berkhamsted
Arthur Sydney Halsey was born in Frithsden, Herts, the eldest of the three children of Arthur Henry (Harry) Halsey and Bertha née Temple. He was baptised at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden on 14th November 1897.
His brother William Bernhard Halsey (always called Bernard) was born on 27th February 1899 and his sister Sylvia Temple Halsey on 21st July 1910.
In the 1901 Census, the family lived at 12 Frithsden and Arthur’s father was a Plumber and Glazier. However, in 1904 the family moved to Little Gaddesden; the 1911 Census shows them living at 41 Little Gaddesden and states that Arthur’s father was a Plumber working on the Ashridge Estate.
Arthur and Bernard Halsey, Infants, spent time at Little Gaddesden School during visits to the village starting on May 15th 1902 and September 8th 1903. Then, on 18th January 1904 the Headmaster wrote:
Readmitted Arthur and Bernard Halsey (Infants). These little boys have now come to live in the village; they were visitors when they came to school before.
When he was at school, Arthur had trouble with his eyes. On November 22nd 1909 the Little Gaddesden School Log Book records that he was absent for that reason. Then, when he returned on 8th December “the Doctor had said that he could only do certain work”.
On October 2nd 1911 the Log Book noted that Arthur Halsey, Standard 7 and aged 14 was engaged half time at the Post Office so would be coming half time to school, “this week in the afternoons and next week in the mornings“. Then, on 27th November 1911 he left school completely.
Joining the Little Gaddesden Scouts 6
Arthur Halsey joined the Little Gaddesden Scout Troop at its start, October 26th 1911. He was a member of the Peewit Patrol, whose Patrol Leader Arthur Whitman was killed at St Julien on 31st July 1917, while his brother Bernard Halsey was a member of the Wolf Patrol, Patrol Leader Francis (Frank) Whitman. The Scouts first met in the Reading Room at John o’Gaddesden’s House but meetings soon moved to the Armoury, at 27 Little Gaddesden, the home of their Scout Master, Harry Temple, who was assisted by 17 year old Bernard Phillips. Miss Bridget Talbot was the Scouts’ President and Mr Humphrey Talbot their Treasurer. Harry Temple, the Scout Master, was also Arthur and Bernard Halsey’s uncle, the older brother of their mother Bertha.
Scouts in the other Patrols who served were: Stanley Austin, Sidney Bellamy, Edward Bunn, Kenneth Edge, Gerald Green, Percy Hobbs, Frank (Henry F.) Johnson, George Pinnock, Archie Wells and Jim Whitman.
“Bright Boy Scouts – Clever Performance at Little Gaddesden – High Approval” 6
According to the hand written ‘Little Gaddesden Scout Diary 1912 – 1922’ kept by their President, Miss Bridget Talbot, the Little Gaddesden Scouts gave a concert/variety entertainment at the school in early February 1912, assisted by Scoutmaster Temple and other supporters. The extract below is from a press cutting reporting the event, pasted into the Scout Diary. The cutting is undated and unattributed but is probably from the local “Gazette”.
Perhaps the one item in the programme which overtopped the others for novelty and excellence of execution was the Kirkby Malzeard sword dance by six members of the Troop (B. Phillips, F. Johnson, A. Whitman, J. Whitman, A. Halsey and A. Basford) with Scoutmaster H Temple as the singer of the introductory verses and violin-player for the dance itself. Its intricate movements were performed with admirable precision and, at the end of the dance, the holding up of the “nut” or star formed by the interlaced swords was greeted with the most enthusiastic applause by the spectators, who would gladly have seen the whole performance again.
From the Little Gaddesden Scout Diary – August 1914 6
War between England & Germany was declared on Aug 4. The L.G. troop are proud to record that their former Asst Scoutmaster (who had left some time ago to join the Royal Navy) Bernard Phillips is now serving his country on board H.M.S. “Implacable”. George Pinnock is also on H.M.S “Powerful” waiting to go to sea. The Chief Scout has called on all Scouts to be ready to help if they are required & the following have volunteered…
14 names are then listed, including Arthur Halsey and his brother Bernard Halsey.
At 28 Little Gaddesden 7
By early 1915 the Halsey family lived at 28 Little Gaddesden, next door to Bertha’s brother Harry Temple at No 27. In her book “The Ashridge Estate and Little Gaddesden 1915-1955”, Doris Fenn, who stayed with her aunt and uncle the Temples in 1915, writes:
Two of Uncle’s sisters lived at No 28. Elizabeth, a spinster, older than Uncle, and Bertha, younger than Uncle, with her husband Harry Halsey. They had two sons, Arthur and Bernard, and a much younger daughter, called Sylvia. They never came into No 27 and Auntie never went into No 28, but conversations could be made through the larder window of Auntie’s house. A knock on this window would attract attention. Gossip was frequent, and when referring to husbands, the affectionate reference was always ‘My Harry’ or ‘Your Harry’.
Arthur’s War Service was entirely in the United Kingdom and the only records found are his entries on the 1918 and 1919 Absent Voters’ Lists for Little Gaddesden. These show that he served as a Private in the Army Service Corps “Z” Company, to which he had been attached from the Labour Corps, Southern Command.
Men who have answered their country’s call in defence of a “Scrap of Paper”
Arthur Halsey is named on the original Roll of Honour, which hangs in St Peter & St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden and lists 119 men from Little Gaddesden, Ringshall and Hudnall who served in the 1914 – 1918 War. However, he has no corps or regiment listed, which suggests that he did not serve overseas. On the 2018 Centenary Revision of the Roll of Honour, his unit has been added. Arthur’s brother Bernard Halsey is not named on the original Roll but has been added to the Centenary Revision. Alfred Mead R.I.P., 7th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, named on the Rolls of Honour and on the War Memorial, was the father of Arthur’s future wife, Doris Hetty Mead.
Rolls of Honour photos: Jane Dickson, Michael Carver
After his War Service, Arthur returned to his parents’ address, 28 Little Gaddesden, where he lived throughout the 1920s. In 1921 he was working as a Painter for the Builders H & J Matthews of Castle Street, Berkhamsted.
In the 3rd Quarter of 1931, Arthur Sydney Halsey married Doris Hetty Mead, daughter of Alfred Mead R.I.P. The marriage was registered in St Albans. Their daughter Diana Elizabeth was born on 5th June 1933; her birth was registered in the Hemel Hempstead District. Their second daughter, Patricia, was born in 1944 and her birth was registered in Berkhamsted.
Living in Berkhamsted 4
The 1939 Register shows Arthur and his family living at 68 Billet Lane, Berkhamsted. Arthur was then a House Painter and Decorator, Doris had “Unpaid Domestic Duties” and Diana was at school.
The Home Guard 12
When living in Berkhamsted, Private Arthur Sidney Halsey served as a member of B Company, 7th Hertfordshire Battalion, Home Guard in which he remained until the Battalion stood down on 3rd December 1944. In 1941, the Battalion’s Adjutant and Quartermaster was William O’Kelly.
After the Second World War, Arthur and his family continued to live at 68 Billet Lane. However, Arthur died, aged 56, on 15th January 1954. His funeral was held at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden on 19th January and he is buried in the old churchyard. His widow Doris later moved to Horspath in Oxfordshire. Then, after her death aged 68 on 11th February 1977, she too was buried in the churchyard at Little Gaddesden.
5. Little Gaddesden School Log Books 1887 – 1906 and 1906 – 1934
6. Little Gaddesden Scout Diary 1912 – 1922, HALS, Hertford, Acc 3131
7. Fenn, Doris, 1996, The Ashridge Estate and Little Gaddesden 1915 – 1955, Mike Kearney DeskTop Publishing
8. 1918-21 Absent Voters’ Lists Parliamentary County of Hertford, Hemel Hempstead Division, Little Gaddesden
12. ed. Brock, Capt. Alan St H, (1945?) 7th Hertfordshire Battalion Home Guard. A History of the Battalion 1940-44
14. Little Gaddesden Burial Register
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Research, text and (unless otherwise credited) photos: Jane Dickson