Arthur Samuel Rawlinson was born and raised in the Moulsham area of Chelmsford. After working as a painter’s labourer he joined the army by 1911, seeing service in India. He left the army and worked at Hoffmann’s bearings factory in Chelmsford. Recalled to the army at the start of the war he was killed in action in October 1914 near Ypres. His home was in Upper Bridge Road.
Arthur was born in Chelmsford on 21st January 1883, the son of Samuel Rawlinson and Harriett Rawlinson (nee Carter). He was baptised at St. John’s Church, Moulsham on 5th January 1889.
His father had been born c1846 in Sible Hedingham; his mother at Stisted c1848. They had married in the summer of 1871. Earlier in 1871 Samuel, a jobbing gardener, had been lodging in Moulsham Street, Chelmsford; and by 1881 he and his wife had been resident in Sible Hedingham where Arthur’s mother was an infant school teacher.
Arthur’s siblings included William Charles Rawlinson (born in 1873 at Chelmsford), Alice Emily Rawlinson (born in 1876 in Chelmsford), Ellen Rawlinson (born in 1878 at Sible Hedingham), Harry Rawlinson (born on 18th November 1880 at Sible Hedingham, died in 1969), Harriet Emma Rawlinson (born in 1885 in Chelmsford and baptised at St. John’s Church, Moulsham on 3rd April 1886), Walter Absolom Rawlinson (born in 1888, baptised at St. John’s Church, Moulsham on 5th January 1889, died in 1965), and Stanley John Rawlinson (born in 1891 in Chelmsford, died in 1967).
Arthur was educated at Moulsham Infants School in Moulsham Street, Chelmsford from 5th September 1887 until 29th January 1890 - he lived at 12 Bridge Row [Upper Bridge Road], Chelmsford.
The 1891 census found eight year-old Arthur living with his mother and six siblings at 11 [Upper] Bridge Road, Chelmsford. At the time Arthur’s father was in hospital in Chelmsford, his brother William was a bricklayer’s labourer and sister Alice was a general domestic servant. A decade later the 1901 census recorded 18 year-old Arthur living with his parents and two brothers at 1 [Upper] Bridge Road. He was employed as a painter’s labourer as was his father and elder brother Harry.
Arthur’s father died in 1908, aged 62.
Arthur lived in Chelmsford and enlisted in London. The 1911 census recorded him, aged 27, with the 1st Battalion of the Highland Light Infantry at Dilkusha, Lucknow, India. He subsequently left the army, and worked at Hoffmann’s ball-bearing works in Chelmsford.
He was recalled as a reservist at the outbreak of the war and served in the 2nd Battalion of the Highland Light Infantry, a regular unit that was in Aldershot at the outbreak of the war, and part of the 5th Infantry Brigade in the 2nd Division. Arthur arrived in France on 14th August 1914. He was killed in action, aged 31, on 21st October 1914 while serving as Private 9368. By November 1914 only 32 men from the original battalion from the start of the war survived.
The Essex County Chronicle of 13th November 1914 reported:
“Private Arthur S. Rawlinson, of the Highland Light Infantry, was killed in action on October 21st. He was an employee of the Hoffmann Manufacturing Co. Ltd., Chelmsford, and was the only support of a widowed mother, who is an invalid, with whom he lived at 33 Upper Bridge Road, Chelmsford. He was about 30 years of age.”
The same day’s Essex Weekly News carried a similar account:
“Pte. A. S. Rawlinson, Highland Light Infantry, reported killed in action on Oct. 21. was employed at the Hoffmann Manufacturing Co.’s Works, and resided at 33, Upper Bridge-road, Chelmsford. He was about 30 years of age, and was the only support of a widowed and invalid mother. He was called up as a Reservist at the outbreak of the war.”
RAWLINSON, ARTHUR SAMUEL,
Private, 2nd Battalion, Highland Light Infantry
notice for Arthur:
“Rawlinson. - In loving memory of Pte. Arthur Samuel Rawlinson, 1st Batt. Highland Light Infantry, killed in action October 21st, 1914. Never forgotten by his Mother, Sisters and Brothers.”
Arthur has no known grave and is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, West-Vlaanderen in Belgium, on the Civic Centre Memorial, Chelmsford, on the Hoffmann Manufacturing Company’s War Memorial at Chelmsford Cathedral, and the Moulsham Parish Memorial, St John’s Church Moulsham. He was entitled to the Victory, British War and 1914 Star medals.
On 19th October 1917 the Essex County Chronicle carried an in memoriam
A further in memoriam notice appeared in the Essex County Chronicle on 18th October 1918:
“Rawlinson. - In loving memory of Pte. Arthur Samuel Rawlinson, 1st Batt. Highland Light Infantry, killed in action, Oct. 21st, 1914.
Four years have passed, our hearts still sore, As time goes on, dear, we miss you more
From Mother, Sisters, and Brothers.”
His mother was still listed at 33 Upper Bridge Road in the 1918 register of electors. She died in 1934, aged 87. 33 Upper Bridge Road was demolished around 1947 and its site forms part of the site of Godfrey Flats
Arthur’s cousin Arthur Evan Thomas lost his life in the First World War, and his nephew Bertram Thomas Arthur Ewers lost his life in the Second World War.