35-year-old Private Arthur Percival Huggins was killed in action on 13th August 1916 serving with the 11th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He was the youngest of five children (three boys, two girls) and was born in Smethwick, Staffordshire in 1879, although his older siblings were all born in Alvechurch and Redditch, Worcestershire.
By 1881, the family had moved to Harborne, Birmingham, where their father, Richard, was working as a ledger clerk. Ten years later, the family was in Derby and everyone apart from Arthur was still in the city in 1901. Arthur seems to have been boarding in Manchester whilst working as an assurance clerk.
By 1911, the whole family apart from one brother, William Harry, was living together at Cotswold, 74 Warwick Road, Olton where they remained until the death of the last sibling, Ida Marion Huggins, in February 1950. It seems she had shared the house with her unmarried brother, Richard Augustus Huggins (apparently known as Gus) until his death on 4th April 1940. Their sister, Elizabeth Alice, had died earlier in 1939. The oldest sibling, William Harry, the only one of the five children to marry, had died in Derby in December 1937.
Parents Richard and Elizabeth Alice had died in January 1913 and in early 1914 respectively, so were spared the knowledge of the war and of the death of their youngest son. Arthur had become an accident insurance clerk by 1911.
We don’t know when Arthur enlisted in the Army, but his medal index card shows no entitlement to a 1914- or 1914/15 Star, suggesting he didn’t serve overseas before 1916.
He was killed on 13 August 1916 and has no known grave. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, as well as locally at St Margaret’s Church, Olton and on the roll of honour of the Avenue Bowling Club, which had been formed in 1905.
If you have any further information about the family, please let us know.
Heritage & Local Studies Librarian
tel.: 0121 704 6977
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