John Gooday Arnold was born into a farming family and, after an education which included a year at Framlingham College, he joined his father's pea and potato merchant's business, living at Springfield Hall, Springfield. He married in 1931 and went on to have a son and daughter. By then he was already a Territorial soldier with the R.A.S.C. with whom he served during the war. He was killed at Singapore in February 1942 when his road convoy was attacked by Japanese aircraft. His home was in Baddow Road.
John was born in Shenfield in 1905, the only son of Philip Arnold and Elaine Cecile Arnold (nee White). His father had been born in Great Leighs in 1875, and his mother in Brentwood in 1877. They had married in Shenfield on 28th July 1904. At that time John s father was a 29 year-old fruit salesman. Both he and his bride lived in Shenfield. A local newspaper reported:
"ARNOLD—WHITE. Shenfield Parish Church, the Rev. Canon Quenuell officiating, the marriage took place of Mr. Philip Arnold, third son of Mr. Richard Arnold, of Great Leighs, to Elaine Cecil (Ella) White, second daughter of Mr. F. White, of Rose Valley, Brentwood. The bride wore an ivory white Brussels net gown, sunray pleated over glace silb and chiffon, a wreath of jessamiue, and a tulle veil, and carried a shower bouquet. Four little girls acted as bridesmaids—Miss Moliie Wenley, Miss Kathleen Manning, Miss Nancy Foole, and Miss Eileen Longley. They wore quaint dresses, matinee jackets of white spot muslin, trimmed Valencieunes and blue ribbon, blue sashes, and bonnets to match, and carried posies of pick rosebuds tied with blue ribbon. The posies, with small pink coral brooches, were the gifts of the bridegroom. Mr. J. Young was best man. There were many handsome wedding presents."
John had a sister, Joan Elaine Arnold, who was born in Romford in 1908.
In 1911 the census recorded John, aged five, living with his parents, sister and a domestic servant at Beech Villa, North Street in Romford. At the time his father was a self-employed potato salesman.
By 1914 the Arnolds were living at 103 New London Road, Chelmsford. Two years later John's father was called up to join the army. His appeal against the call-up was heard by Chelmsford's war service tribunal in July 1916. A local newspaper reported:
"Philip Arnold, London Road, farmer, pea and potato merchant, appealed for exemption. appeared that will to-day. —Capt. Smith: Then if we don't get him today we shan't get him at all. (Laughter.) — A week's exemption was granted, taking Mr. Arnold over the age."
John's father farmed 100 acres at Longlands in Great Leighs and also helped his elderly father in farming. By contrast the same tribunal rejected an appeal against the call-up of 31 year-old Alfred H. Stevens. Rainsford Lane, who worked as manager and saleman at Mr. Arnold's company's Chelmsford office. In his case call up was deferred for 14 days.
By 1920 John's famiily had taken up residence at Springfield Hall in Springfield. That year John started a one year's education at Framlingham College in Suffolk.
John was subsequently joined his father's wholesale greengrocer's business, Phillip Arnold & Son which was in operation under that name by 1928. It ran out of Borough Market in London.
John Gooday ARNOLD, Major, Royal Army Service Corps
Killed at Singapore. Aged 36
John married Mary Simmons Jackson at St. Mary s Church, Great Baddow on 23rd September 1931. At the time 25 year-old John was living in Springfield and was a merchant. His bride was 28 years old and lived in Great Baddow. By then he was alreadt a Territorial soldier serving with the Royal Army Service Corps, A local newspaper reported on the wedding:
"WEDDING MISS MARY JACKSON & MR. J. G. ARNOLD. The wedding was solemnised at St. Mary's Church, Great Baddow, on Wednesday, of Miss Mary Simmons Jackson, elder daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Walter S. Jackson, of Glenarin, Great Baddow, with Mr. John Gooday Arnold, only son of Mr. and Mrs. Philip Arnold, of Springfield Hall, Chelmsford. The Rev. D. G. Douglas, vicar, officiated.
The church was tastefully decorated with autumn flowers, and there was a large gathering of relatives and friends. The hymns, " Lead us, Heavenly Father," and "O perfect Love," were sung, and Mrs. Wheeler, the organist, played the Wedding March from Lohengrin," and Mendelssohn's Wedding March.
The bride wore a dress of cream satin, trimmed with orange blossom and embroidered tulle veil, and carried a sheal Madonna lilies and white heather. Her pearl necklace and emerald ring were the gifts of the bridegroom. There were five bridesmaids, the Misses Gwen Jackson (sister of the bride), Jill Arnold (sister of the bridegroom), Joy Darby (cousin of the bride), May Mulvey, and Kitty Sidgwick. Their dresses were of parchment satin, with marigold velvet coatees, and gold net caps trimmed with marigolds. They also wore Venetian necklaces; gifts of the bridegroom, and each carried a marigold muff with spray of cream roses. Mr. Geoffrey Mitchell, of Witham, was best man.
The bride's parents held a largely attended reception at Glenarin, and the happy couple left for their honeymoon, which is to be spent touring. The bride travelled in a short brown pony - cloth coat, with terracotta hat and dress to match. The numerous presents included an armchair from officers of the 54th (East Anglian) Divisional Train, R.A.S.C.; carvers from employees at Springfield Hall; cut-glass cruet from the staff at the Borough Market; and cutlery and set of carvers from the employees of Messrs. Jackson and Son."
On 13th February 1942, while serving as Major 135351 in the Royal Army Service Corps, John went missing and was subsequently believed to have been killed when the convoy in which he was travelling was dive-bombed by Japanese aircraft at Singapore. He was aged 36.
Confirmation of John's death was not to reach home until December 1945, at which time his parents were still living at Springfield Hall. His widow lived in Baddow Road, Chelmsford.
John is commemorated on the Springfield war memorial in All Saints' Church, Springfield, at Framlingham College, at St. Mary s Church in Shenfield, and the Singapore Civil Hospital Memorial.
John's father died in 1949; his mother died in 1970.