Former Able Seaman Higher Grade Arthur Whitworth, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, died in Queen’s Hospital, Birmingham as a result of infective endocarditis (an infection of the inner lining of the heart). He had be demobilised on 5th January 1919 and is not listed on the Commonwealth War Graves website, although his gravestone notes that he “died from illness contracted in service.”
He was born in Bakewell, Derbyshire on 23rd December 1896 and was the eldest of five children born to parents Henry (a gardener) and Elizabeth (née Wright) who had married in 1893.
It seems that the family remained in Derbyshire and that Arthur worked as a domestic gardener before enlisting in the Royal Naval Division in November 1915. He served with the Howe battalion from November 1916 until February 1917 when he was invalided home with a gunshot wound to the back. After recovering, he was posted to the Hawke Battalion in March 1918. He was invalided back to the UK in June 1918 suffering from “pyrexia of unknown origin” (an elevated temperature for which no cause was found). A high temperature, together with other flu-like symptoms, is one of the early symptoms of endocarditis.
At the time of his death, Arthur was listed as being a gardener of “Four Ashes, Bentley Heath, Dorridge, Solihull.” The informant on his death was his uncle, Thomas Whitworth, also of Four Ashes, Bentley Heath. At the time, Bentley Heath was part of the parish of Solihull, but Arthur’s name is not included on any local war memorials.
He is listed on the war memoria at Stanton-in-Peak, where his parents lived until their deaths. His mother died in 1915 and his father in 1941. Arthur is buried with them at Stanton Cemetery.
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Heritage & Local Studies Librarian
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