Private Arthur William Pollard

Regiment: 2/6th Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment
Service No: 6113 (Previously: The Royal Sussex Regiment, 2981)
Date & place of birth: 4th qtr. 1894 in Singleton, Sussex
Date & place of death: 16 July 1916 (aged 21) at Fromelles, France

Arthur Pollard was one of a pair of brothers from Bepton killed in the war. He was killed shortly after arriving in France, in what has been described as “an unmitigated disaster”.

Family background

Arthur William Pollard was born in Singleton in late 1894, the ninth of eleven children of George Pollard (1846–1930), an agricultural labourer, and his wife Emily Jemima née Tupper (1850–1918). George Pollard had been born near Petersfield, but his family moved to Heyshott shortly after his birth. In early 1871, he married Emily Tupper from Cocking and their first child, John, was born a few months later. Over the next 27 years, the couple had eleven children, of whom one died as a child.

The gravestone of the Pollard brothers' parents in Cocking churchyard.
The gravestone of the Pollard brothers’ parents in Cocking churchyard.

By the time of Arthur’s birth in 1894, the family were living at Singleton, although they later moved to Bepton. At the 1911 census, the family’s address was recorded as Lower Grounds, Bepton, when Arthur was working as a cowman.

Emily and George are buried in the churchyard at Cocking.

Military service

Arthur enlisted at Horsham, initially joining The Royal Sussex Regiment but was subsequently transferred to the newly formed 61st Division of The Royal Warwickshire Regiment. His initial time with the 61st Division was spent on home defence duties in England before moving to Bulford Camp on Salisbury Plain in March 1916, where the division was inspected by King George V on 5 May.

A few weeks later, the 61st Division was sent to France and by 28 May they were at Thiennes, near Bethune where they remained for a short before they were ordered to the village of Laventie, which was then just a short march from the front-line and within range of German artillery. This sector of the front had been the scene of very heavy fighting just over a year before but was now considered relatively quiet and a good place to introduce inexperienced troops to trench warfare. Initially, the division took part in raids on the German trenches and suffered numerous casualties.

Death & commemoration

On the evening of 19 July, the 61st Division joined those of the 5th Australian Division in an attack on the enemy positions along Aubers Ridge, which was defended by experienced troops from the 6th Bavarian Reserve Division. The British troops were ordered to attack the heavily reinforced Sugarloaf salient at 6 pm; as soon as the British troops left their trenches, they came under heavy machine gun fire and no British troops succeeded in reaching the German lines. The Battle of Fromelles ended the following morning, with over 1,500 men of the 61st Division had been killed or wounded.

The Loos Memorial
Arthur Pollard’s name on The Loos Memorial

Arthur Pollard’s body was never recovered and he is one of over 20,000 allied casualties commemorated on the Loos Memorial near Lens, approximately 20 km from where he was killed, as well as on the Bepton war memorial.

Other family members

Arthur’s youngest brother, Charles, was also killed during the war, dying in captivity in Germany in May 1918 from the effects of gas poisoning.

Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project