From towers to trenches, we remember Arthur William Wright
One of the 54,896 names inscribed into the stone panels of the Menin Gate Memorial belongs to a young bell ringer. Arthur William Wright, second child of Leonard and Emma Wright, was baptised 23rd August 1891 at Chicheley, where he was later to ring.
The census records for 1891 were taken on the 5th April at which time Emma would have been carrying Arthur. The Wright family were living at 4 Bedlam Lane with eldest daughter 1 year old Agnes. Leonard’s employment status was typically recorded as an agricultural labourer.
By 1901 a further 5 children had been born and all 6 were living at home which was now 1 Bedlam Lane and Leonard’s occupation was recorded as Horse Keeper on farm. The St Lawrence Vestry minutes show that the Wrights were very much involved in church life, Leonard was present at a three vestry meetings (1904, 1905, 1907) and Arthur became a choir boy as well as a bell ringer.
In 1911 the Wright family were still residing in Bedlam Lane, Chicheley, father Leonard was a horse keeper on a farm whilst 19 year old Arthur was employed as a labourer in the Iron foundry in the railway coaches business.
Arthur, the first young man of the Village enlisted into the army at Northampton in August 1914. He was sent to Devon port where he was transferred as a private in the East Surrey Regiment (service number 7309) and on the 6th March 1915 aged just 23 found himself in the at the front in the Ypres Salient where unfortunately he was killed in action on the 28th April 1915. Arthur’s body has never been found and his name will therefore remain on the Menin Gate until such time it is discovered and finally laid to rest.
The vestry minutes signed by U J Easson 13 April 1917 record the following: “Another memorial in brass had been erected on the N. Wall by the parents of Arthur Wright who had so nobly given his life for the country and Parish – his memory will always be cherished by all in the old Church to which he was devoted from a child serving as a Cross Bearer in the Choir and being one of the leading bell ringers.”
Census records for 1911, 1901 1891