Arthur Britton

Memorial: Marshfield - High Street

Regiment: Royal Engineers

Medals: British War Medal, Next of Kin Memorial Plaque 1914 - 1921, Victory Medal

Rank and number: Sapper / Driver 162966

Parents: Ernest and Rose Britton

Home address: High Street, Marshfield, Glos

Pre-war occupation: Driver

Date of birth: 1895

Place of birth: Marshfield, Glos

Date of death: 25/10/1917

Buried/Commemorated at: Canada Farm Cemetery, Ypres, Belgium

Age: 22

Further information:

Arthur Britton was born and bred in Marshfield, the son of Ernest Britton, who had a road haulage business, and his wife Rose. The family lived in the High Street and before the war Arthur worked for his father as a driver; he was aged 19 when war was declared. He enlisted in Bristol soon after the outbreak of war and joined the Royal Engineers, finally being posted to 80 Field Company, RE, part of the 18 Eastern Division who had arrived in France in July 1915

The role of the Royal Engineers Field Companies was to build and maintain and the extraordinary complex and vast infrastructure that Armies in the Great War demanded. This included railways, roads, designing and building artillery fortifications behind the lines, barracks, as well as the provision and supply of water almost as far as the front line and digging and repairing trenches for the infantry regiments. Most of the tasks the Field Companies undertook were out of the range of rifle and machine gun fire that was the daily lot of the infantryman, but of course subject to the possibility of long range artillery fire

His experience as a driver, even although he was not yet out of his teens, before the war was of great value to the Army, for driving commercial vehicles was not a job done by many

Arthur Britton would have seen service at the Somme in the summer of 1916 and by May 1917, the 80th Field Company were stationed at Bray, east of Amiens undertaking what seems a vast range of building and maintenance work. In the middle of June the company was moved to Ouderdom Camp near Poperhinge. Their task was to build Advanced Dressing Stations for the wounded and digging shelters, all of which were part of the preparations for Third Ypres, or Passchendaele. The battle opened with an intensive barrage which lasted for 10 days before on 31 July the infantry left their trenches and advanced across No Man’s Land

The 80th Field Company remained in support in the rear until they were moved to Vendhuille on the banks of the St Quentin Canal near Le Catelet. Their tasks were twofold, first ensuring the banks of the canal were in good order, secondly building barracks and washrooms nearby at Guyencourt. Towards the middle of the October increasingly the sappers came under fire. Half a dozen casualties were suffered over three or four days and then on 25 October the company suffered the loss of an officer killed and three other ranks were wounded, of whom Arthur Britton was one. He died of his wounds a day later. He is buried at Canada Farm Cemetery, Ypres, Belgium

By kind permission, this information is based on the following source(s):
Forces War Records and CWGC