Private Arthur Staley

Authur Staley was born in Ringinglow on 23rd April 1894 and baptized at Christ Church, Fulwood on 3rd June 1894. He was the son of William Staley (1855-1916) a stone quarryman/owner and Sarah Ann Fox (1857-1924). He was the eighth of nine children, Agnes Mary, Ben William, Annie, Leonard, Laura, Edith, George Edward, and Bertha. He would not have known Edith (b1890) or George Edward (b1892) as they both died in May 1893 and were buried on the same day in Fulwood Churchyard. Laura (born 1887) also died in childhood in 1896.

On the 1901 census the family was living at 8 Ringinglow and ten years later the family was at the same address and Arthur working as a stone carter. The Staley family, immediate and extended had been in the area since the early Victorian period and occupied many of the properties in the village.

Arthur enlisted in the Yorkshire and Lancaster Regiment at Sheffield as part of the Derby Scheme and was given the service number 21794. He may have embarked February 1916 (based on his service number and other soldier’s service records that have survived). This would be a relief to his family as he may have been able to attend his father’s funeral. William had died on 10th January 1916 and is buried in the churchyard at Fulwood.

At some point Arthur transferred to the 15th/17th Battalion of the West Riding regiment. The Battalion was action during the Battle of Rosieres 26th-27th March 1918. Arthur was captured at Ervilliers on 27th and was initially imprisoned at Denain, a POW Hospital, before being transferred to POW Camp at Gelsenkirchen, Munster. He died at the Abteilung Evengelisches Krankenhaus (Department of the Lutheran Hospital) of influenza on 20th July 1918. He was initially buried in Gelsenkirchen West Cemetery. In 1922, it was decided that the bodies of Commonwealth servicemen who were buried in locations across Germany should be brought together in four permanent cemeteries and so Arthur was reinterred at the Southern Cemetery in Cologne. His grave is marked by a cross but has no inscription.

Arthur’s name is inscribed on the War Memorial at Fulwood and on the memorial inside the church which also has the name C Staley inscribed. Clifford Staley was a cousin of Arthur – their fathers were brothers.

Arthur’s remaining siblings were named along with his mother on his pension record. Agnes had married Joseph Bray in 1904 and Annie married John Frank Hirst in 1908. Sarah Ann Staley, Arthur’s mother died in March 1924 and was buried in Fulwood. Ben William, the eldest brother, continued to work in a quarry until at least 1939. It has not been established which quarry was owned by the family although a William Staley advertised for a quarryman to work in the Sheep Hill Quarry in August 1920.

Editor’s note: I am grateful to Alison Darby for this biography of Arthur Staley. Alison’s husband, Andrew, is the great grandson of Arthur’s sister, Mary Agnes.