Dedicated to the memory of all the men and women of the Bridgnorth area who died during the two World Wars.
Arthur Horace Steadman Southwell was the son of William Lascelles Southwell and his wife, Fanny Ethel. William was Chairman of the carpet manufacturers H M Southwell Ltd. Arthur was baptised at St Mary Magdalene, Quatford on 13th April, 1887. His family lived at Knowle Sands, Eardington; later moving to Fairfield, Oldbury and later to Victoria Road, Bridgnorth.
Arthur enlisted in the KSLI as a private, then a corporal before obtaining a commission in the 7th Battalion in July 1916. He went missing in action on 13th November 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Ancre, the last major British attack of the 1916 Somme campaign.
2/Lieut. Southwell is buried in the Serre Road Cemetery No.2. He was awarded the Victory and British Medals and the 15 Star.
A ‘letter from the war’ from Cpl A H S Southwell was printed in the Bridgnorth Journal on 9th October, 1915.
GIVEN A COMMISSION [Bridgnorth Journal 29th July, 1916] Sergeant Arthur H. S. Southwell, who joined the Shropshire “Pals” on their formation, and has since been serving with the 6th Battalion of the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry in France since July last year, first as a private, then as a corporal and, latterly as a sergeant, has been given a commission and posted to the 9th Battalion King’s Shropshire Light Infantry at Prees Heath Camp. Second-Lieutenant Arthur H. S. Southwell is the only son of Mr. W. Lascelles Southwell, of Fairfield, Oldbury, Bridgnorth.
WOUNDED AND MISSING [Bridgnorth Journal 9th December, 1916] We regret to say that Second-Lieut. Arthur H. S. Southwell, K.S.L.I. (only son of Mr. W. Lascelles Southwell, of “Fairfield,” Bridgnorth), who was previously reported wounded, is now officially reported “wounded and missing.” He was dangerously wounded when leading his platoon to the attack on November 13th, and has not since been heard of. There is only the hope – and that too slight to be of much comfort – that he may have been taken prisoner. Shortly before the 13th ult. He, with three non-commisioned officers and seven men, volunteered and successfully carried out a small bombing raid on the enemy trenches. The raid was described in Battalion orders as being carried out with great daring and resolution.
WOUNDED AND MISSING [Bridgnorth Grammar School Magazine, December 1916] [Word for word the same as the report in the Bridgnorth Journal on 9th December but adds that Mr W. Lascelles Southwell is 'one of the Governors of the School.']
SEC-LIEUTENANT A. H. S. SOUTHWELL OFFICIALLY REPORTED DEAD [Bridgnorth Journal, 22nd December, 1917] Second-Lieutenant Arthur H. S. Southwell, who has been reported "missing" for over a year, is now officially reported as "concluded dead." In "The Times" of Tuesday last the following reference was made:— "Second-Lieutenant Arthur Horace Stedman Southwell, Shropshire L.I., was the only son of Mr. W. Lascelles Southwell, of Woodberry Down, Bridgnorth, and the late Mrs. Southwell. He was wounded in action near Serre while leading his platoon on November 13th, 1916, and was last seen alive the same day in a shell hole, badly wounded. Shortly afterwards he was reported missing, and he is now officially presumed dead. He was educated at Hillside (Mr. W. Salter and the Rev. H. Allington), Malvern, and at Malvern College (Mr. House's House). After leaving school he took up farming. Shortly after war broke out he enlisted in the Shropshire L.I., and went to France in July, 1915, where he served as a corporal and sergeant until February, 1916, when he was sent home for a commission, which he obtained in the King's Shropshire L. I. in July. His colonel writes : 'He was one of the best officers in the battalion; his loss is deeply regretted by us all. About a month ago I recommended him for the Military Cross for a very gallant bit of work during a raid. The recommendation, however, was not passed at the time.' The battalion orders alluded to the raid as one of great daring and resolution."
This memorial has mostly been compiled from official sources. It would be good to be able to expand it with more personal material - memories, stories, photos, etc. If you have any suitable material or any corrections please contact Greg. For news of updates follow @BridgnorthHeros on Twitter.