2nd Lieutenant, 7th Battalion Durham Light Infantry.
Killed in Action 24th May 1915 near Ypres, age 19.
Buried at Bedford House Cemetery, Belgium, Enclosure No. 4, grave reference IV.B.19.
Student of Law.
Arthur, born in 1895, was the son of Frank Septimus Rhodes of Marple. He was educated at Wadham House School, Hale and Stockport Grammar School. He entered the University in 1912 to study Law passing his intermediate L.L.B. in 1913.
Arthur was a member of the University Officer Training Corps (O.T.C.) from October 1912 until October 1914. He was in camp at Sailsbury Plain with the O.T.C. when war broke out. He was the first Marple man to volunteer, but being articled to his father as a solicitor the consent of the Incorporated Law Society had to be obtained. He was gazetted as a Second Lieutenant in September 1914 and went to France on 20th April 1915.
Arthur was reported as wounded and missing in the Manchester Guardian on 2nd June 1915. The next day the newspaper printed a letter from his father in which he wrote that “within five days they [Arthur’s unit] were fighting at the front near Ypres. For ten days the regiment was under fire, and during that period he had several narrow escapes from injury. He had two bullets through his coat, one of his putties ripped off by a shrapnel bullet, was nearly poisoned by a poisonous gas bomb which exploded near to him, and a lump of sharpnel bounced off his head. In the recent attack made on Whit-Monday by the Germans with the aid of poisonous gases he was not so fortunate, and he is now supposed to be a prisoner, together with his captain, senior lieutenant, and several men”. The action, between the villages of Hooge and Bellewaarde in Belgium, in which Arthur went missing was described in a history of the war written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (published in July 1917): “In a war of large numbers and of many brave deeds it is difficult and perhaps invidious to particularise, but a few sentances may be devoted to one isolated combat which showed the qualities of the disciplined British soldier. Two platoons of the 7th Durhams, under two 19 year old Lieutenants, Arthur Rhodes and Pickersgill, were by chance overlooked when the front line was withdrawn 200 yards. They were well aware that a mistake has been made, but with a heroic if perhaps quixotic regard for duty they remained waist deep in water in their lonely trench, waiting for their certain fate, without periscopes or machine guns, and under fire from their own guns as well as those of the enemy. Both wings were of course in the air. In the early morning they beat back three German attacks, but were eventually nearly all killed or taken. Rhodes was shot again and again, but his ultimate fate is unknown. Pickersgill was wounded, and the survivors of his platoon got him to the rear. The loss of such men is to be deplored, but the tradition of two platoons in cold blood facing an army is worth many such losses.”
On 25th June the Manchester Guardian reported that a wounded soldier in a Norfolk hospital had informed Arthur’s father that Arthur was amongst a batch of officers captured by the Germans. On 16 July it was further reported that Mrs. Rhodes brother, a Captain Dent of the Durham Light Infantry, had made careful enquiries that ascertained that a report given out by the Red Cross Inquiry Bureau that Arthur had been killed in action was incorrect. In December 1915 the Spanish Embassy confirmed Arthur to be in a German detention camp at Whan, near Cologne, but this was later discovered to be a private with the same name from the same regiment.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission documentation for a cemetery concentration carried out in May 1921 shows that Arthur’s remains were identified through clothing, buttons, badges and a matchbox showing the winning of the University of Manchester O.T.C. Recruits Prize in 1913. Probate record that effects worth £72 0s. 6d. were left to his father.