ON: AN INTRODUCTION
GRANDPARENTS - I - MY GREAT-GRANDPARENTS - I - MY
GREAT-GREAT-GRANDPARENTS - I - MY
KNOTT - I - BOWLES - I - WATERS - I - HARRALL - I - PAGE - I - WISEMAN - I - CROSS - I - CARTER
CORNWELL - I - HUCKLE - I - MORTLOCK - I - MANSFIELD - I - REYNOLDS - I - CARTER - I - ANABLE - I - STEARN
CHRONOLOGY - I - DRAMATIS PERSONAE - I - WHERE PEOPLE CAME FROM - I - CALENDAR
MAP OF ELY - I - MAP OF MEDWAY
CAMBRIDGE AND DISTRICT
WORLD WAR I - I - WORLD WAR II
simonknott.co.uk I home I e-mail
Cambridgeshire 31st March 1879
died Delville Wood near Albert, France 20th July 1916
on the Page family tree
part of the Page
and Wiseman family stories
married to Sophia
brother of Henry
Page and Thomas
father of Phyllis
and Alice Wiseman
(1879-1916). My Father's Mother's Father.
The Pages were a large family - Arthur was one of at
least eleven - and lived in the Back Hill area of Ely.
Arthur was married by the age of 22, and worked first as
a baker's labourer and then as a general labourer. During
WWI, Arthur enlisted in the Suffolk Regiment, and was
the Battle of the Somme on 20th July 1916. He was 37
Arthur was a
Serjeant in the 2nd Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment. On
the 20th July 1916, the 2nd Suffolks were engaged at
Delville Wood outside the village of Longueval to the
east of the town of Albert on the Somme. The Wikipedia
entry for the battle at Delville Wood observes that fighting
for Delville Wood commenced on 14 July 1916 when the
South African Infantry Brigade of the 9th Division
captured Longueval and gained a foothold in the
neighbouring wood. The wood lay on the right flank of the
British line and, along with nearby Waterlot Farm,
protected the villages of Guillemont and Ginchy. The
Germans resisted strongly in Delville Wood and every gain
made by the British was subjected to repeated
counter-attack. Consequently the wood changed hands a
number of times before it was finally secured by the
British on 3 September during the Battle of Guillemont.
The 9th Division fought in Delville Wood until 20 July
when it was relieved by the 3rd Division and a brigade of
the 18th (Eastern) Division.
2nd Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment was part of the 3rd
Division of the British Army which relieved the South
African brigade of the 9th Division on the 20th of July -
that is to say, Arthur Page was killed on the first day
of his battalion's engagement. Arthur's body was
recovered, identified, and buried at Delville Wood
cemetery in Longueval, just outside of the town of
Albert. We visited Albert in the summer of 2006, but I
did not know about Arthur Page at that time, and so we
did not go to Longueval. We will have to go back.
His brother Herbert
was also killed in WWI, as was his brother-in-law, also
Arthur was born on the 31st March at Annesdale,
Ely, Cambridgeshire. His father's
occupation is given as farm labourer.
His mother's maiden name was Wiseman. The
informant was his mother, who signed with a
Arthur was two years old at
the time of the 1881 census. The Page family were
living in Annesdale, Ely, Cambridgeshire.
Arthur's father Henry is
shown as an agricultural labourer.
He was 26 years old. His mother Alice was also 26
Arthur was the fourth of
five children at the time of the 1881 census.
Henry was 7, William 5, Emma 3, and John less
Arthur was born in Ely,
Cambridgeshire, as were his siblings and his
mother. His father Henry's place of birth is
given as Great Chesterford, Cambridgeshire. Other
sources give Great Shelford, Cambridgeshire
(Great Chesterford is actually just over the
Essex border). The transcript for their entry is here.
Arthur was twelve
years old at the time of the 1891 census.
The Page family were living in Broad
Street, Ely, Cambridgeshire.
Henry is shown as a labourer.
He was 38 years old. His mother Alice was
36 years old.
Arthur was the
second of seven children at the time of
the 1891 census. Henry was 16, John was
9, Herbert was 7, Robert was 5, Susan was
3 and Thomas was 10 months. However,
William, now 15, and Emma, now 13, who
were recorded on the 1881 census, are no
longer recorded at home.
Arthur was born in Ely,
Cambridgeshire, as were his siblings and
his mother. His father Henry's place of
birth is given as Shelford,
Cambridgeshire. The transcript for their
entry is here.
married Sophia Chapman Cross on
12th January in the Lady Chapel of Ely Cathedral,
which served as the parish church of Holy
Trinity, Ely. He gave his age as 22 and
she as 20: in fact, they were 21 and his
occupation as labourer. His home address was in
Bull Lane, while hers was in Potters Lane. The
witnesses were Robert John Dewsbery and Alice
Cross. Alice was Sophia's younger sister by nine
months. Alice would marry Robert Dewsbery.
On 29th March,
the Cambridge Independent Press reported
that Arthur's father Henry Page, a labourer of of
Willow Walk in Ely, was charged at Ely Petty
Sessions at the instance of Inspector Dixon of
the NSPCC with cruelly ill-treating his
children - Susan (aged 11), Thomas (aged 9),
Charles (aged 7), Sarah (aged 6) and Nellie (aged
1) by wilfully and unlawfully neglecting them.
Henry pleaded not guilty. The charge was brought
because he had failed to provide money for the
family despite his £7 payoff for six months with
the Suffolk Militia. Alice had been able to look
after the family while he had been away, but on
his return she had been forced to live apart from
him because he ill-treated her from time to
time and was unkind to the children. He
demanded from her the money she earned as a
charwoman, leaving her with only a few coppers,
and she was unable to provide enough food for the
children. Henry was given an exemplary sentence
of six months with hard labour.
Arthur was twenty-two years
old at the time of the 1901 census. The Page
family were living on west side of Bull
Lane, Ely, Cambridgeshire. Today, this
is known as Lisle Lane.
Arthur is shown as a baker's
labourer. His wife, Sophia Chapman, was
20 years old.
Arthur had no children at
the time of the census.
Arthur was born in Ely,
Cambridgeshire, as was his wife Sophia. The
transcript for their entry is here.
Arthur's mother Alice was
forty-four years old at the time of the 1901
census. This Page family were living in Broad
Street, Ely, Cambridgeshire.
Alice is shown as a charwoman.
Her husband Henry was in prison at the time of
the 1901 census. She is described as married,
and her relationship to the head of household is
noted as wife.
Alice had seven children at
home at the time of the 1901 census. John, an
agricultural labourer, was 20, Herbert, an errand
boy, was 18, Susan was 14, Thomas was 10
(suggesting that the Thomas who appeared on the
1891 census was ten months, not ten years old),
Charles was 8, Sarah 6 and Helen 1.
Alice was born in Ely,
Cambridgeshire, as were all the children. The
transcript for their entry is here.
1907: When Arthur's
daughter Florence was baptised in Holy Trinity
parish on the 28th May, Arthur's occupation was
recorded as a labourer on the Great Eastern
thirty-two years old at the time of the
1911 census. The Page family were living
on Back Hill, Ely,
Arthur is shown as
a general labourer. His
wife, Sophia Chapman, was 29 years old.
They had been married for ten years.
Arthur had four
children at the time of the census:
Arthur aged 9, Violet aged 6, Beatrice
aged 5 and Percy aged 1. Another child,
Florence, is entered on the form and then
crossed out because she was living
and sleeping at Mrs Sophia Stubbins Back
Hill.They were all born in Ely,
All the family were
born in Ely,
Cambridgeshire, with the exception of
Beatrice, who was born in Peterborough.
The transcript for their entry is here. You can view the original
form here. The form for the household
where Florence was staying is here.
1913: On the 10th October, Arthur
was recorded as a bricklayer in an article in the
Cambridge Independent Press which
reported a serious accident which had befallen
his daughter Florence:
1914: Arthur Page was 35 years old when
the First World War broke out. He volunteered,
signing up as a Serjeant in the 2nd Battalion of
the Suffolk Regiment, and his medal record shows that he
arrived in France on the 26th January 1915.
1915: The 2nd
Battalion spent their first winter and spring
bogged down in the trenches of the Vierstraat
area of Flanders, before being returned to Billet
at Westoutre on 11th April. They spent the latter
part of the spring building the network of
trenches in the Ypres salient,and then on June
16th they were part of the force which attacked
and consolidated its hold in V Wood and Sanctuary
Wood to the east of Ypres. It seems that the
Battalion came under what were the first
prolonged and sustained gas attacks by the
Germans on British troops.
On 25th June, the Cambridge
Independent Press mentions Arthur in a report on
the wounding of a young Ely soldier Private H J
Negus. Arthur, his sergeant, had written a letter
to Negus's parents saying that the men have
missed his company already, as he used to let
them know he was about. He was liked by everyone
in his platoon and company. He has been my mess
chum ever since I have been out here. We were
like two brothers. Thus, the authentic voice
of the past comes through.
During July they returned to billet
in Ypres again, but spent the rest of the summer
consolidating the hold on the splendidly named
Spoil Bank and Bellyache Wood, again to the west
of Ypres. In general, the 2nd Suffolks seem to
have spent an uneventful 1915 in Flanders, with
few casualties, except for one major incident
when, on September 8th, the battalion sustained
more than a hundred deaths trying to capture a
crater in Sanctuary Wood. Shortly after this,
Arthur's brother Herbert Page, who had signed up
with him but had previously been in the Reserve,
was injured, and returned to England.
brother Herbert rejoined the Battalion at the
start of 1916, when they were moved south towards
St Eloi. Shortly after arriving in the area,
Herbert was killed. Newspaper reports suggested
that he died on the way to hospital, but in fact
it seems his body was never recovered, and he has
no known resting place. He is remembered on the
Menin Gate memorial in Ypres.
In June 1916, Arthur Page and the
2nd Suffolks were removed completely from the
fighting and returned to depot at St Omer for
training in open warfare. They did not know it,
but the Generals were preparing for the Big Push,
designed to distract the Germans from their
assault on Verdun. It would be known as the
Battle of the Somme. On July 1st, the first day
of the battle, the 2nd Suffolks set out from St
Omer for the Somme. They arrived at the front on
July 8th, and were placed in reserve, and then on
July 14th they were moved into the southern end
of Caterpillar Wood, to the east of Albert. Not
far off, on July 18th, the Germans attacked and,
at great cost to them, overran Delville Wood and
part of the town of Longueval. Two companies of
the 2nd Suffolks were sent to support the
counter-attack, and among them was Serjeant
20th July, Arthur was killed at Delville Wood in
the Battle of the Somme, France.
He was 37 years old. Shortly before first light on what
would be a warm, sunny day, the Third Division of
the British Army attacked Delville Wood. Chris
McCarthy, in The Somme Day-by-Day,
records that Early in the morning the
Division made an attack on Delville Wood and
village using 2nd Suffolks and 10th Royal Welsh
Fusiliers. At 3.35 am the Suffolks advanced from
the west, but the two leading companies were
almost entirely wiped out. The Fusiliers went
astray, and came under fire from a British
machine-gun barrage, losing most of their
officers, only to press home a fruitless attack.
The casualties in the 2nd Battalion
were heavy, and among those killed in the attack
was Arthur Page. He was 37 years old. It seems to
have been a spectacularly foolhardy action: the
two companies lost no less than ten officers in
the attack, one of them, a Major Congreve, later
being awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross.
Arthur's body was recovered, identified, and
buried at Delville
Wood cemetery in Longueval.The Ely newspapers
reported the Page family's plight. On 28th July
the Cambridgeshire Times, which was
incorporating the Ely Standard for the
duration of the War, reported that Yesterday
(Thursday) morning Mrs Page of Waterside,
received a letter from the Chaplain to the 2nd
Suffolk Regiment, informing her of the death in
action of her husband, Sergt A. Page. He leaves a
wife and seven children, for whom great sympathy
is felt. On the same day, the Cambridge
Independent Press reported that Mrs
Page, Waterside, Ely, has received news that her
husband Sergt A. Page, of the 2nd Suffolks, has
been killed in action. The Chaplain of the
Regiment has written a letter of sympathy to the
widow, who is left with seven children.