RFA West Lancs Bdes
681475 DVR. A. CRESWELL. R.F.A.
Arthur Creswell was born in the second quarter of 1898 in Bootle. He was baptised at Liverpool St Luke’s but not until August 1904, and confirmed at Toxteth St Philemon in April 1914. His father was James Creswell (b. 1860 in Wolverhampton), a joiner who worked for a theatrical contractor. His mother was Agnes Nash (b. 1860 in Warwick). James and Agnes were married in Aston in 1880 but shortly after they married they moved to Liverpool. They had 10 children, eight of whom survived infancy: Frances (b. 1880), Gertrude (b. 1885), Kate (b. 1888), Agnes (b. 1891), James (b. 1892), Elizabeth (b. 1895), then Arthur, and finally Elsie (b. 1901). In 1911, the family was living at 55 Albert Road, Edgehill. Arthur was still at school.
So Arthur lied about his age when he enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery. In 1915 he was still only 17. He was assigned service number 681475 and posted to “D” Battery of 286 Brigade.
After training, the Brigades left for France in early 1917 and were involved in the heavy fighting to defend the town of Armentières, on the French-Belgian border. In July 1917 they suffered their first attack by the new mustard gas. In late September the Brigade was relieved from the front line and withdrew for a period of training, and returned to the line at Langemark about 35km north of Armentières, not far from the small village of Passchendaele, which would be the scene of some of the bloodiest battles of the War. On 9 October 286 Brigade returned to action engaging in harassing and destructive fire on enemy strongpoints, but also suffering their heaviest losses of the war so far, with many soldiers being gassed. Arthur was killed in action on 11 October 1917. He was 19 years old.
286 Brigade was to lose over 300 men before the end of the month, killed and wounded – almost half their full complement.
Service No: 681475
Date of Death: 11/10/1917
Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery, "D" Bty. 286th Bde.
Grave Reference: I. F. 16.
Cemetery: CEMENT HOUSE CEMETERY