19-year-old Lance Sergeant Alfred Arculus of Earlswood was killed in action on 26th September 1915 whilst serving with the 2nd Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment. A pre-war regular soldier, he enlisted on 6th March 1914, aged 18 years and 171 days, giving his occupation as a farm labourer. He was promoted Lance Corporal on 28th July 1914 and was mobilised 0n 5th August 1914, spending time at Millbrook training camp in Plymouth from 9th August until 17th December 1914. During this time he was promoted Corporal on 5th October. On 18th December, he was moved to Fort Tregantle in south-east Cornwall, which was used for musketry training, and embarked for France on 27th December 1914.
According to an order of service for a commemoration service at St Patrick’s Church, Salter Street in Tanworth-in-Arden, he was born on 16th September 1896, the fourth of seven children born to parents Edwin (a carrier) and Eliza (nee Turner). In 1901, aged four, Alfred was living with his parents and four siblings at Salter Street. By 1911, his parents were still at Salter Street but he had moved to Yew Tree Farm to live with his aunt and uncle, Thomas and Mary Jane Turner and, aged 14, was working as a farm labourer.
Whilst serving in France, Alfred was promoted Lance Sergeant on 14th March 1915 but was deprived of his stripe less than a month later, when he was injured on 3rd April 1915 after picking up the nose of a bomb which exploded in his hand as he was taking it apart. The bomb had been blown up by the Royal Engineers and Alfred had thought it was safe. A court of enquiry was held and found that he was to blame for picking up a portion of a bomb out of curiosity and decided that he was not in performance of military duties at the time.
He regained his Lance Sergeant Stripe on 8th September 1915 but was killed in action a Vermelles on 26th September.
If you know any more about the Arculus family, please let us know.
Heritage & Local Studies Librarian
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