Arthur Lionel Waldegrave Warren was the son of a mariner-turned-clergyman and was born in San Francisco. He performed on the London stage and with his wife formed a concert party act. He was a navy reservist called up at the start of the war. As the commander of the corvette H.M.S. Arbutus he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his successes against German U-boats, but before it coould be presented to him he was killed when his ship was sunk in February 1942. His widow, who lived and ran a shop in Moulsham Street, collected his award from the King four months later.
Arthur was born in San Francisco, California, U.S.A. on 15th July 1902, the son of William Waldegrave Warren (1867-1940) and Alice Matilda Barton (1861-1936). His Tasmanian-born father and his Hampshire-born mother had married at St. Matthew's Church in Croydon, Surrey on 4th September 1901. At that time his father was aged 34 and resident at 21 Fairfield Road in East Croydon. His mother was six years older and lived at 2 Fairfield Road, East Croydon.
Arthur's paternal grandfather, Richard Augustus Warren was a Major-General in the Royal Engineers; his maternal granfather, Rev, Joseph Barton, was a clerk in holy orders.
In 1897 Arthur's father's competancy as a Master of a Foreign-going Ship had been certified by the Lords of the Committee of Privy Council for Trade. He had earlier worked for the P&O Line.
Arthur's father left the merchant navy to become a clergyman when Arthur was a boy - the 1911 census recorded him, aged 43, living on the Isle of Man where he was a theological student. From 1935 to 1937 he was the Vicar of St. Paul's, Camberley, Surrey.
Prior to the Second World War Arthur and his wife Jessie Marguerite Warren, whose stage name was Jane Corbett, were partners in a concert party for two successful seasons at the Pier Theatre in Walton-on-the-Naze.Arthur played piano. Before that he had been an entertainer on the London stage.
As a Merchant Navy reservist officer Arthur was recalled at the outbreak of the war and was posted to the Royal Navy where he was to spend most of his war time career on operations against enemy U-boats. A newspaper reported that he had been responsible for sinking three of them.
He was Temporary Sub Lieutenant on H.M.S. Stella Capella from 28th August 1940 to 28th February 1941. In March 1941 he joined the 925 ton corvette H.M.S. Arbutus.
On 5th April 1941 Arthur was in command of H.M.S. Arbutus when she picked up 48 survivors from the S.S. Athenic after she was sunk by the U-boat U-76. The same day his vessel picked up 42 survivors when U-76 was herself sunk.
On 12th June 1941, still commanded by Arthur, H.M.S. Arbutus rescued survivors from Chinese Prince when she was sunk.
Arthur Lionel Waldegrave WARREN Distinguished Service Cross, Lieutenant, H.M.S. Arbutus,
Royal Naval Reserve. Killed when his ship was torpedoed in the Atlantic Ocean. Aged 39
On 8th July 1941 Arthur was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for successful operations against enemy submarines. A newspaper report at the time said that his vessel took part in the sinking of a U-boat, commanded by one of Germany’s submarine aces, who was taken prisoner along with his surviving crew.
At 10.36 p.m. on 5th February 1942, Arthur was in command of H.M.S. Arbutus escorting the west-bound convoy ON-63 about 295 miles west of Erris Head, Ireland, when she was struck by one torpedo fired by the U-boat U-136. The vessel broke in two and sank, claiming the life of 39 year-old Arthur, three officers and 39 ratings. 47 other men were rescued.
Arthur's Distinguished Service Cross was subsequently received by his wife from King George VI later in 1942. A Chelmsford newspaper reported:
"SHE CLOSED THE SHOP FOR ONE DAY TO GO TO THE PALACE - With the wives, mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters of many of this War's heroes, Mrs. Warren, of Moulsliam St., Chelmsford, attended a recent Investiture by the King at Buckingham Palace. Mrs. Warren received from the King the D.S.C. awarded to her husband, Lieut. A. L. Warren, R.N. who lost his life when his corvette, H.M.S. Arbutus, was sunt by enemy action.
Accompanying Mrs. Warren at the Investiture was her husband's greatest friend, Mr. E. E. Loftes, of Bedford Park, Mrs. Warren describes the investiture as a " wonderful experience." " The King shook hands with me and spoke to me,"
Mrs. Warren said afterwards. " I could not say what I said. I'm afraid I was a bit overcome, and my heart was thumping wildly. I just curtsied and shook hands with him, Actually it was impossible to talk much. The King was so human about it all. The lovely way he inferred his sympathy and his pride was wonderful."
People wondered why Mrs. Warren's shop in Moulsham Street bore the simple little notice one day last week —" This shop will be closed for one day on ----." This was the reason. Mrs. Warren was at Buckingham Palace."
At the time of Arthur's death his home was at 29-31 Moulsham Street in Chelmsford, where his wife was the manageress of a drapery business. He is commemorated by the Portsmouth NavaAfterl Memorial in Hampshire.
Arthur left an estate valued ar £10,683 15s, to his widow.
After his death Arthur's widow lived at Victoria House in Great Leighs. She died in 1956.