25498 Corporal Arthur Lunnon, 3rd and 1/4th Battalions Northamptonshire Regiment
Born on 4th May 1888 in Ringshall
Died on 12th March 1948 in the Luton and Dunstable Hospital, Luton
Arthur Lunnon was born in Ringshall, the youngest of the six children of James Lunnon and Charlotte née Daniels. He was baptised at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden on 7th June 1888.
His siblings were:
- Brother: William, born in 1873
- Sister: Emily, born in 1875
- Brother: Francis Edward, born in 1876
- Brother: Amos George, born 2nd May 1878
- Brother: Joseph, born 28th October 1880
In 1891, the Census shows Arthur’s family living at 3 Ringshall Road, later re-numbered 33 Ringshall. His father was a Farm Labourer. His brothers William, 18, a Farm Labourer, Francis, 14, an Apprentice Plumber, Amos, 12 a Messenger and Joseph, 10, a School Boy, also lived at home.
Arthur attended Little Gaddesden School. Although he gained his Certificate of Proficiency on 21st February 1900, he could not leave school to go to work until he was 12 years old. However, his departure is recorded on 8th May 1900, four days after his 12th Birthday.
The Census of 31st March 1901 shows 12 year old Arthur working as a Stoker on a Stationary Engine. He lived at 33 Ringshall with his parents James, 58, a Farm Teamster, and Charlotte, 50.
By April 1911, 22 year old Arthur was a Bricklayer on the Ashridge estate. He was still living at 33 Ringshall with his parents, his sister-in-law Sarah and her children Sidney, 11, Elsie, 9, Frederick, 6 and Doris 4, who were all at school. Sarah was the widow of Arthur’s eldest brother William.
On 5th August 1911 Arthur Lunnon married Annie Bierton at St Mary’s Church, Pitstone. Annie’s address is recorded as 8 Aldbury, Nr. Tring, Herts. Their first son, Cecil Lionel Henry Lunnon was born at Pitstone on 25th November 1911 and their second, Reginald James Lunnon, at Aldbury on 20th November 1915.
On 30th November 1915, Arthur Lunnon attested at Tring under Lord Derby’s Scheme, more properly called the Group Scheme. He was then a 27 year old Bricklayer living at 8 Aldbury, Nr Tring and he was 6 feet 1 inch tall. He was initially posted to the Army Reserve. However, he had to serve when called upon to do so, and the men who attested under the Group Scheme were mobilised in groups according to their age and marital status. As a married man born in 1888, Arthur was in Group 33, therefore was mobilised on 29th May 1916. He was then appointed to the 3rd Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment in which he initially served as a Private, Service Number 25498. The battalion was then based at Gillingham, Kent.
On 10th October 1916, Arthur was promoted to Provisional Lance Corporal in the 3rd Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment. A note in his Service Record adds “First Class Instructor in Musketry + Mechanism in Lewis Gun, at Hythe from 31.10.16 to 25.11.16“.
At the end of October 1916, Arthur’s neighbour Sidney Jones of 16 Ringshall was appointed to the same battalion.
On 7th December 1916, Arthur was appointed Paid Lance Corporal in the 3rd Battalion and, on 14th April 1917, he was promoted to Acting Corporal. However, on 30th November 1917 he reverted to the rank of Private on joining the British Expeditionary Force.
To Egypt with the 1/4th Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment 7
On 30th November 1917, Arthur was posted to the 1/4th Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment to serve in Egypt; he was then promoted to Corporal on 12th February 1918. His Service Record includes a Certificate of Trade Proficiency which states that, on 27th March 1918, he was tested in the workshops of the Egyptian State Railways at Cairo and found to be a Skilled Bricklayer.
Arthur was promoted to Lance Serjeant on 14th November 1918 and Acting Serjeant on 10th January 1919.
Victory Celebrations in Cairo 10
The Northampton Mercury of Friday 10th January 1919 included an article entitled “Northamptonshires in Egypt” giving details of the Victory celebrations in Cairo, where the 54th Division, which included the 1st/4th Northamptonshire Regiment, was then based. The article notes that the Victory celebrations included a march past by the 54th Division. It also records that:
Cairo was brilliantly decorated for the occasion and a cutting from the “Egyptian Gazette”, which has been handed to us, states that every man, woman and child of whatever race and colour was there to see the great and victorious English military leader, General Sir Edmund Allenby, receiving the salutes of ten thousand of his soldiers. The march past took exactly one hour and a half, and the cheering was almost continuous…
The 1/4th Northamptonshire Regiment did not return to England until 5th November 1919. However, by that time, Arthur had been promoted to Acting Company Serjeant Major on 19th June 1919 and Temporary Company Serjeant Major on 3rd July 1919. He then completed his service at the Northamptonshire Regiment Depot and was finally demobilised and transferred to Class Z Reserve on 8th December 1919.
Certificate of Thanks 11
Arthur received a Certificate of Thanks for his service in Egypt. It included the message:
Before your departure from the Egyptian Expeditionary Force and your re-entry into civil life, I wish to thank you for the valuable services you have rendered to the Army and the Nation.
It was stamped 20th November 1919 and signed by the Brigadier General of 161 Infantry Brigade.
Arthur Lunnon is named on the 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. His unit is shown as the 3rd Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment, in which he first served. He is similarly shown on the Centenary Revision of the Roll. Although Arthur had moved to Aldbury, his parents remained at Ringshall – his mother until her death in March 1916 and his father until the early 1920s.
Rolls of Honour photos: Jane Dickson, Michael Carver
On demobilisation, Arthur returned to 8 Aldbury. However, by June 1921, he and Annie had moved to Summerleys, Edlesborough, by which time he was working as a Bricklayer for S. A. Bates, Builders in Edlesborough. His son Victor Jack Lunnon was born on 25th November 1921.
Arthur and Annie remained in Edlesborough but it is unclear whether they moved from Summerleys. The 1927 Electoral Register records their address as “near the Green” Edlesborough while the 1939 Register list it as 7 The Green, Edlesborough. Arthur continued to work as a Bricklayer and, in the 1939 Register, his 17-year-old son Victor is shown with the same trade.
On 12th March 1948, 59 year old Arthur Lunnon of The Green, Edlesborough, died in Luton and Dunstable Hospital. His widow Annie lived until 1973.
2. Little Gaddesden Baptism Register 1813 – 1947
5. Little Gaddesden School Log Books 1887 – 1906
11. https://livesofthefirstworldwar.iwm.org.uk/lifestory/2728232 Arthur Lunnon, Media – Certificate
13. Little Gaddesden Burial Register
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Research, text and (unless otherwise credited) photos: Jane Dickson