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Treasured Photograph


jimmyjames
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The attached photo is of Pte Oliver Arkell, born in Cheltenham in 1877. His grandson, Mr Philip Arkell, has displayed this photograph in his house for many years - being only aware that Oliver served in the Great War but not of his Unit/Regt/Corps. His is keen to gain any information on his grandfather.

Can any information be derived from Oliver's uniform, equipment or even the location? He would have been 37 years of age on the outbreak of war.

With very many thanks.

Jimmy

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The Cap badge though indistinct does look as if it could be Dorsetshire or Essex Regiment,or similar,No Oliver Arkell is Listed in the Medal Index Cards;though that in its self means nothing,He Could However have been in one of the Home Service,Defence Corps or Volunteer Units {from The Photograph in Which he appears to be Guarding A Railway?}His Rifle Appears to be a Lee Metford,with the Double Edged Bayonet{Circa 1890s}as opposed to the Lee Enfield,with Single Edged Sword Bayonet,It might proof expedient to establish what units local to his Home town where engaged on this sort of duty?

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Jimmy

Does Mr. Philip Arkell know what Oliver Arkell's occupation was as a civilian ? There is an Oliver Arkell listed on 1901 census but his age is given as 28 years old which doesn't tie in with your man's birth date.

There are two men of 24 years old listed as Harry and Henry both born in Cheltenham. One of these could be Oliver if he used his middle name as often the custom at that time, especially if the son was called after his father.

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Jimmy,

Are you sure this is not the Oliver Arkell who appears in 'Leaving All that Was Dear'? There are some similarities in his features. It looks like a Glos Regt Badge to me. The following is a transcript of some notes obtained after the publication of my book. What does the grandson know - did Oliver survive the war?

Private Oliver George Arkell enlisted in the 1/5th Gloucestershire Regt as a territorial in Cheltenham on the 26th August 1909. At the time he was 17 years 5 months old, living in Swindon Rd Cheltenham and was described as having good physical deployment - chest 34' with 2 1/2" expansion. He was serving with "F" Company in 1914 and was embodied on the outbreak of the war but did not serve overseas being discharged on the 7th January 1915 (having served 5 years 135 days) as he was suffering from pulmonary tuberculosis. He medical records relate that his disease was permanent and his condition was likely to deteriorate, it was aggravated by military training in 1914. He was the son of William Henry Arkell of 3 (unreadable) Terrace, Swindon Rd and later of 3 Brunswick St Cheltenham. He was 26 years old at the time of his death. There is an entry in the "Deaths" section of "The Cheltenham Echo" stating that he left a wife and daughter, Phillys. He appears in a group photograph of the Cheltenham Air Rifle League 1913-1914 in "The Graphic" of the 11th April 1914 (Oliver is standing farthest right) and again on the 9th May 1914. In 1918 an Oliver George Arkell was living at 45 Queen St, Cheltenham.

Joe Devereux

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Thank you all.

The Oliver Arkell in the photo was born in Q1 of 1877, as confirmed by his grandson. His full name was Oliver George Arkle - he lived until the age of 67, dying in 1944. I will ask Philip if he knew his grandfather's occupation. The 1901 Census threw me as well, as I could find no record of this particular man. The Oliver Arkell referred to by Joe died on 23rd March 1918, aged 25, and is buried in Cheltenham Borough Cemetery,Plot L-2251, with his brother Phillip who died, aged 23, in 1920. Oliver George Arkell resided at 45 Queen Street, Cheltenham, again confirmed by his grandson.

It could well be the Gloucesters cap badge, Ive tried to get a close up but the definition is lost, and he looks very much to be on home duty as his uniform is in good nick and his rifle is of the older issue. Was the bandolier in general issue to Home Service Troops and the belt looks almost a parade type issue. The white lanyard also puzzles me. There very important railway junctions, viaducts and bridges in the Cheltenham area though I can't place the photo (despite being the architypal railway anorak around Cheltenham in the early sixties!).

Thanks again for your comments.

Regards

Jimmy

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Jimmy

The 1891 census has the 14 year old Oliver Arkell living at 45, Queen Street, Cheltenham. He is living with his father Agustas (?), a 55 year old gardener, mother Hanna, aged 52, brother Albert (17), a porter and brother Walter (12), a scholar. Oliver is shown to be an errand boy.

Unable to locate any of these on the 1901 census except Walter, now aged 22 and married to Emily (23) with a 1 year old daughter, Edith. Walter is show to be a shoeing blacksmith. His address is unclear from the census sheet as the enumerator has not recorded the street name, just that he lives at number 80, part of St Luke’s Parish in Gloucester, borough of Southend.

Stephen

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  • 2 weeks later...

Philip Arkell has discovered another photograph of his grandfather. He is with a group of Gloucestershire Regiment men and "1914" is printed in pencil on the back of the photo.

At first glance all of these men are quite long in the tooth, late 30's and early 40's, except for a 'Pte Pike' kneeling centre.

The NCO standing left - wearing what appears to be a non-regulation pouch on front of his belt - maybe his 'tipple' for cold evenings.

The man tanding 2nd left - upside-down chevrons on lower sleeve indicates that he has seen long service, probably nearly 20 years.

The chap kneeling 2nd from left is a Territorial ('T' above shoulder title.)

None appear to be wearing 'Imperial Service' badges or Boer War medal ribbons.

Further information provided by Philip indicates that Oliver was a house painter and that a Agustus Arkell married Hanna Vale at St Mary's parish church Cheltenham in 1856. They had ten children William b 1859, Frederick b 1862, Alfred b 1863, Henry b 1865, Elizabeth b 1867, Benjamin b 1871, Rose Emma b 1873, Oliver b 1877, Walter b 1879 and Albert b 1875

Any further information or pointers would be very much appreciated.

Regards

Jimmy

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