Private Arthur Sydney Neale died on 15th June 1918 whilst serving with 6th Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment. He was born in Shirley in 1898 and was the seventh of the ten children (eight sons, two daughters) of parents George Henry (a farm labourer) and Sarah (née Bishop) who had married in Solihull in 1884. Arthur was one of four brothers to serve in the Armed Forces. He is pictured above (centre) with two of his brothers.
George and Sarah set up home in Shirley Heath where the first three children were born, moving to Marshall Lake Road sometime between 1901-1911. Family members remained at Marshall Lake Road until at least 1968.
Of the four brothers who served in the war – Alfred Charles (1889-1964), George Henry (1887-1960), John Walter (1891-1968) and Arthur Sydney (1898-1918) – only John Walter Neale’s service record has survived. A baker by trade, Walter, as he seems to have been known, volunteered for the Army in December 1915, and was mobilised in November 1916. Serving with the 3rd Battalion, Coldstream Guards, he was wounded three times, receiving a shell wound to his left arm in October 1917, suffering a gun shot wound to his finger in April 1918, and being gassed in September 1918.
Gunner/Driver George Henry Neal served in France and Flanders with A and C Batteries, 64 Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. Alfred Charles Neale served as a Driver with the Army Service Corps and then a Private with the Labour Corps.
The family name sometimes appears as Neal, and it seems that Arthur’s brother, George Henry, adopted this spelling, although the rest of the family seems to have used Neale.
Private Arthur Sydney Neale was killed in action on 15th June 1918 and is buried at Acheux British Cemetery. He is commemorated locally on Shirley War Memorial.
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