Category Archives: Other Regiments

Arthur Penton Strong

Arthur Penton Strong
Lieutenant 7th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers

Division 32

Strong AP photo

Arthur Penton Strong was the son of Arthur and Kate Strong, of Reading.  He is commemorated on the footstone of the family grave. The 1891 census indicates that Arthur had three younger brothers and an older sister his father was a builder and contractor. Kate’s brother also lived with the family. They lived at 5. Zinzan Street, Reading. By 1901 Arthur’s father had died and the family were living at 215, King’s Road, Reading. Arthur was now aged 17 and employed as a factory clerk. In 1911 Kate was living at 30. Telford Avenue with her younger sons. It has not been possible to trace Arthur through the 1911 census.

Arthur was killed in action on 26th October 1917, Aged 34.  This was the first day of what came to be known as the Second Battle of Passchendaele.   On this day the British and their allies improved their positions from Passchendaele to Poelcapelle.   Matrix tells us that the attack began at 5.40am.  On either side of the Menin road the British 7th and 5th Divisions were frustrated by marshes.  The Australians and Canadians took their objectives moving off in a mist that became a heavy rain as the day progressed.  The Canadians had 70% casualties.  Poelcapelle means church in the bog and it was in a bog that the British fought.  Several days later New Zealand troops came upon the remains of the Northumberland Fusiliers and Durham Light infantry lying in rows where they had been mown down by German machine guns as they had made their advance on the first day of the battle.

Arthur Penton Strong is buried in Poelcapelle British Cemetery. Location XXXVII. F. 19

This cemetery was made after the Armistice by the concentration of graves from other cemeteries and from the battle fields.  The great majority of the dead fell in the last five months of 1917, particularly the month of October.


J Starkie

Driver J. Starkie
T/16298 292 Company
Army Service Corps.

Division 49

 space for headstone

J. Starkie  was 34 years old and died on the 8th August 1915.  He was  the son of Samuel and Mary Starkie of Blackburn, Lancashire and  the husband of Sophia Starkie, of 40, Sunny Bank, Mytholmroyd, Yorkshire.

Starkie died in a tragic boating accident whilst based near Reading.  He and Private J. J. McKeever, an Irish man born at Waterside, were in a Canadian canoe on the Thames at Tilehurst when the canoe capsized and both soldiers were drowned.  Neither man could swim.  The Coroners verdict was that of “Accidental Drowning”.

During the war years there were many such accidents on the Thames, sometimes of army personelle and sometimes civilians and children.  Many drownings were accidental, some were acts of suicide.

Mrs Starkie attended the funeral and also Thomas Logue, the brother in law of McKeeveer.  A volley was fired and the “Last Post played”.  The grave of Driver Starkie is marked by a CWGC war pattern headstone.  Private McKeever is also buried in the cemetery in Division 14

Ernest Edward Stubbington

Ernest Edward Stubbington
Private 117830
19th Company (Chester)
Royal Army Medical Corps.

War Plot Division 71 & 72

Ernest Stubbington was the husband of Catherine H. Stubbington, of 58, Brickfield Road, Portswood, Southampton.

Ernest Stubbington died on 12th July 1917, aged 37. He took his own life and the Reading Standard published the following information.

 Standard July 14th 1917

“Earnest Stubbington R.A.M.C. stationed at Whalley, was on Thursday found dead on the line at Reading.  His head was shockingly injured.  An inquest will be held today (Saturday)”

 Standard July 21st 1917

Ernest Stubbington, aged 37 years, a Private in the R.A.M.C., had been married for 18 years and had 6  children.  He was “described by his widow and his military officer as being of jovial disposition, and getting on well with his work”.  “He committed suicide on the railway line last week”.  He was called up for military service on May 15th last, and was engaged in office work in Whalley.  Granted 4 days leave, and a pass from Saturday to Tuesday, he went home to Southampton.  He left there Monday morning in order to join his unit by Tuesday midnight.

On Tuesday his wife received the following letter, bearing the post mark Paddington, 3.15:-

Dear Wife, – My heart fails me to return to prison life, as you are so rotten towards me, and I know that I shall only be a nuisance to you in a month or so, as I am telling you the truth-I am going blind in one eye-I am going to quit this earth tonight and I shall lay my head down to rest and peace.  That is what has been worrying me so, and end it I will tonight, so you will be free now, and I only hope the children will get cared for by someone better than me.  You can have your fling now….So farewell all, and the best of luck to you; you have never understood me so its best.  Good bye.!”

The body was found on Thursday morning on the line from Reading to Paddington near Woodley Bridge.  The back part of the skull had been torn away.  In one of his pockets a piece of paper , bearing the pencilled words “Only a nuisance”.

A verdict of premeditated suicide was returned.  The widow said her husband had been depressed for about 12 months, though for no particular reason.  He had complained of bad eyesight and also of his heart.  She couldn’t account for the tone of the letter, there was no reason to refer to her in that way.  She did not think he had friends in Reading or that he had been “carrying on” with other women.  The Quarter Master at Whalley spoke well of his military character.