Sandhurst is a pretty village, tucked in the crook next to the river Severn. This village is still a little reminiscent of its past, just outside of Gloucester City. There used to be a ferry which ran across the river to Ashleworth Quay on the other bank of the Severn. Sandhurst’s heydays were when the rivers were the motorways of the country.
The church of St Laurence at Sandhurst is a quaint old church. Its myriad of older gravestones speak of a place which had the well-to-do as well as the labouring classes here about.
Arthur Daniell was born in this village in 1897, he was baptised in this village at the church. His father William James Daniell was a labourer who lived with his wife, Arthur’s mother at near The Quay in Sandhurst. He had worked at Brawn Farm as a labourer.
Before the war, Arthur had been living with his mother and father whilst in school.
Arthur enlisted in the 1st/6th Battalion of the local Gloucestershire Regiment as a Private in Gloucester, sometime in 1916 as he did not qualify for the 1914/1915 Star.
Arthur’s official date of death is the 9th of October in 1917. But the truth is that his death was presumed on or since that date, just was the war at that time.
The 1st/6th Battalion were priming themselves for action for the 9th October 1917. They had moved to Irish Farm and then on to Dambre Camp. It was in an area north of Ypres in Belgium. It was described variously as an area that was once a field, ridden by shell holes, crater and mostly covered in water. It had rained heavily in the previous few days. To get to their front-line trenches, men had to struggle through waist deep mud flailing in the dark; hoping that you didn’t lose your footing. Men were heavily fatigued, covered with mud. Some even failed to get to their place in the line, so bad were the conditions. Machine guns were loaded on to pack ponies. All ranks were ordered to rub their feet with whale oil.
At 5:20 in the morning on the 9th October 1917, Arthur’s Battalion attacked; and Arthur attacked. It was the first day of the Battle of Poelcappelle, part of the Third Battle of Ypres known as Passchendaele. Parts of 10 British, Australian and New Zealand division attacked along a frontline that reached nearly 8 miles in length. The plan to take the ridgeline there.
The 7th Worcesters were positioned on the right of the line, the 4th Glosters on the left and the 6th Glosters in the centre. The 8th Worcesters were in reserve.
It was near impossible to bring up artillery to support the infantry troops. Even worse, the troops failed to keep up the covering barrage; stuck in the mud and slip-sliding their way into machine gunfire and shellfire. Support aeroplanes dropped smoke bomb and flares at the first sight of 100 or more enemy counter-attacking indicating their position. Despite the conditions, the 1st/6th Glosters made progress, taking prisoners and machine guns in order to push up on the line but casualties were high. 242 casualties in total. Across the line, an estimated 12,000 men were wounded, missing or dead. The 1st/6th Glosters were relieved the following day – the 10th October. Captain Richard Guy Titley was an officer with the 6th Glosters as part of C Company. Listed as missing, he was eventually retrieved from no man’s land after three days lying severely wounded in the mud, the 24 year old Captain from Durdham Down in Bristol died in hospital.
There are 80 men of the 1st/6th Glosters that have the 9th October 1917 as their date of death; of which 70 have no known grave. Arthur Daniell is one of those men. He was just 20 years of age.
Sometime after their deaths in the 1930s, Arthur’s name was added as a memorial to his parents’ graves.
And of Arthur, their son
fell in action in France
October 9th 1917 aged 20
Arthur’s name lies on the war memorial plaque inside the church. One of twelve men lost to the riverside village.
His name is also on a memorial plaque to those lost who attended the Sunday School at Sandhurst.
The memorial for the village men can be seen in the stained glass window, which shone with the autumn sunshine when I saw it.
To commemorate the Great War 1914-1918 and Sandhurst men who fought and fell
These are the men who never returned from the Great War whose memorials lie at Sandhurst in Gloucestershire:
Private Arthur Daniell
DoB February 10th 1897 Sandhurst, Gloucestershire
DoD October 9th 1917 Ypres, Belgium age 20
267585 1st/6th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment
Commemorated: Tyne Cot Memorial, Ypres, Belgium