Arthur Eric Martin was born into a large family in rural Kent. He worked as a compositor and it was perhaps this trade that brought him to Chelmsford. He joined the army and landed in France in October 1915. He was killed in action in October 1916 during the Battle of the Somme.
Arthur was born in Leigh in Kent in 1892, the son of John Samuel Martin (1845-1901) and Caroline Martin (nee Gasson) (1854-1933). The couple had married in Kent in 1877.
Arthur’s ten siblings were: John Richard Martin (born in 1878), Charles Ernest Martin (born in 1879), Annie Lydia Martin (born in 1882), Albert Henry Martin (born in 1883), Caroline Sarah Martin (1884-1959), Alfred James Martin (born in 1886), George Edgar Martin (born in 1887), Daisy Emily Martin (born in 1889), Elsie Isabella Martin (1893 – 1984), and Alice May Martin (born in 1897).
Early in 1901 Arthur’s father died. The census later that year recorded him, aged nine, living with his mother, five siblings and a visitor at Priory Cottage in Leigh, Kent.
A decade later the next census recorded him, aged 19, with his mother, three siblings and a visitor at Meopham Cottage, Weald in Kent. He was then working as a printer compositor.
Arthur enlisted into the army at Warley. He served with the 7th (Service) Battalion Seaforth Highlanders (Ross-shire Buffs, the Duke of Albany’s. The battalion, part of the 26th Brigade in the 9th (Scottish) Division was formed at Fort George in August 1914. He landed in France on 3rd October 1915.
MARTIN, ARTHUR ERIC,
Private, 7th (Service) Battalion Seaforth Highlanders (Ross-shire Buffs, the Duke of Albany’s)
In the summer and autumn of 1916 the battalion participated in the Battle of the Somme, including an attack on Longueval (14th July 1916). On 8th October 1916 the battalion was in Albert. It then travelled to Bécourt (east of Albert) to Mametz (further east) and then marched north-eastwards to Bazentine-le-Grand; thence up to the forward trenches north-east of of Eaucourt L'Abbaye east of Le Sars.
On 12th October 1916 Arthur’s battalion unsuccessfully attacked the Butte de Warlencourt - an ancient burial mound alongside the Albert to Bapaume road in the northern part of the Somme battlefield. Advancing on the right up a gentle slop in drizzling rain it suffered badly from machine gun fire, and a British artillery barrage that fell short. On that day Arthur was killed in action, aged 24, while serving as Private S/9000.
Arthur has no known grave and is commemorated on the Civic Centre Memorial, Chelmsford and at the Thiepval Memorial, near Albert, Somme, France. He earned the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, and Victory Medal.
His exact connection to Chelmsford has yet to be established.After his death his mother lived at Meopham Cottage, Weald in Kent, She died in 1933.