Private Artemus BAGSHAW

Durham Light Infantry
15th Battalion
Service Number:
[Formerly 118248]
Date of Death:
26 April 1918 - Died of wounds
Cemetery / Memorial:
Grave Reference:
V. B. 43.

Personal History:
Artemus was born on 17th July 1899 at 54 Wash Brook, Burbage, Buxton, the eldest son of Ernest (Waggoner - Lime works) & Annie Elizabeth (née Chappell) Bagshaw. He had an elder sister, Jane Anne, and a younger sister, Nellie (1901 Census RG 13/3271).
In 1911 (Census RG 14/21238) he was at school, living with his grandfather, James Edward Chappell, at 25 Lime Grove, Burbage, Buxton. The rest of his family, including two new younger brothers, Ernest and Sydney, and a younger sister, Hannah, were at Grin Row, Burbage, following the death of Artemus' mother, Annie, in the June quarter 1909. Later they either moved or the name changed to 21 Grin Crossings, Ladmanlow, Buxton. In reporting his death 'The Buxton Advertiser', stated that Artemus had lived most of his life with his grandfather.

At the time of his enlistment in 1917 Artemus gave his occupation as "Cowman". He was 5' 3½" (1.61 m) tall and gave his Religion as 'Church of England'. He weighed 7 st. 13 lbs. (50.35 kgs.)

Military History:
Artemus enlisted into the 13th (Territorial) Battalion, Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby) Regiment at Bakewell on the 15th September 1917, aged 18 years and 5 weeks, for the duration of the War. However, his Service Record states that he was "Deemed to have enlisted" on the 2nd March 1917, presumably due to Service with the TR Battalion. This was not reflected in his period of reckonable service shown later.

On the 19th September he was posted to Brocton for training. On the 24th December 1917 he was transferred to the 53rd (Young Soldiers) Battalion. [Young Soldier Battalions were for recruits aged 18 years and 1 month and were training units. Once trained the recruit passed to a Graduated Battalion before posting overseas]

Accordingly, on the 4th January 1918, Artemus was again transferred to the 51st (Graduated) Battalion, Durham Light Infantry. Whilst with 'D' Company, the 51st Graduated Battalion, Artemus wrote an undated letter home as follows:

"Dear father and all. I hope your (sic) in the best of health as it leaves me at present. I am just sending you a photo of me I don't know what you think of them, I think they are middling, I had them took on Sunday. We are having some awful weather at present it's raining all the dam (sic) day.

I expect you are having some rain in Buxton. Just tell me weather (sic) Nick (?) joined up or not and if they kept George Brooks or not. I expect you got the Germans ??? and how well do you get on with them. We never ?? any much about them.

I think we are going to France in June. There is a Company going every month and I think it's our turn in June. I am about getting sick of the dam (sic) Army. I often think whether we are playing at soldiers or not but its to much like real for that. You must excuse the writing as I am in a big hurry. I have not much to say this time but will write later.

Yours son
A. Bagshaw"

Artemus did not have to wait until June, however, and on the 27th March 1918 he wrote home again:

"Dear father and all. I will just tell you a bit of news as we are bound for France in a week's time, perhaps before. The other morning the Colonel told us he had orders from the War Office to send us to France as soon as possible but he said he was going to let us have 4 days draft leave and we was to be issued with service kit at once, and was to proceed on leave on Thursday night. That was Tuesday when he told us and we have been issued out with most of our kit.

Then an order came from the War Office that the leave was a wash out and we might be wanted while on leave, but don't take that as true as there might come an order to go on leave for a few days. So if that occurs it shouldn't be long before I am coming home. I might be home before this letter if that comes off. When they receive an order from the War Office it has to be carried out immediately if its in the middle of the night.

At present we are being dished out with service kit. There's no parades now but when we go to France we shan't go to the front line trenches for a while but in the Base for a few weeks to polish all our training off in case of emergency as there is some heavy fighting going on. But don't get it into your heads that I might not come on leave because I might.

Your son
A. Bagshaw"

It doesn't look like Artemus got his leave as he arrived in Folkestone, Kent, on 31st March 1918, just four days after his letter, and sailed for France, arriving at Boulogne the next day. He was posted to the 15th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry, the following day. The plans for the Battalion to spend: "... a while but in the Base for a few weeks to polish all our training off ..." didn't happen, as events indicated.

The Battalion had left Amiens by train on the 1st April 1918, arriving at Houpoutre at 7.00 a.m. the following morning, and moving on to Locre by bus. On 9th they moved to Kruisstraathoek, occupying trenches in Glencourse Wood the next morning only to receive immediate orders to withdraw.

Three days later, on the 13th, Artemus was back in the line in the Wytschaete Sector (known to the troops as 'Whitesheets'). After three days shelling, at 7.30 a.m. on the 17th the enemy attacked following a heavy bombardment. Fighting continued all day and the next and the War Diary states that the Battalion was "Holding the line" from the 19th to the 24th, when it was relieved and moved to a camp at Dickebusch.

However, on the 25th April:
"At 2.30 a.m. the enemy opened an intense bombardment in all back areas using a percentage of gas shells. The Batn. was forced to leave the camp and took up a position in shell holes etc. a few hundred yards WEST of the camp. The enemy attacked and made a break in the line and the Batn. immediately moved forward to support 9th Batt. K.O.Y.L.I. in filling a gap in the line.

Holding a line in CHEAPSIDE ROAD, North of KEMMEL. Capt. M. R. PEASE wounded.

26th April: Part of 64 Bde. attacked in conjunction with other Divisions at 4.20 a.m. and the Battn. moved up and took the place of the attacking ………….. in the line. The Battn. area was intensely bombarded during the day."

The Battalion was relieved the following day by the 4th Battalion, York and Lancs Regiment. During the fighting from the 15th to 27th April 1918 the Battalion lost: 44 killed, 162 wounded, 44 missing and 31 wounded and missing.

After barely three weeks in the field he was wounded and died of wounds on the 26th April 1918 at 36 Casualty Clearing Station. Between December 1917 and April 1918 the 36th CCS was located at Rousbrugge and the village of Haringhe, where Artemus is buried, lies nearby. In total he had served just 224 days with the Colours.

Rather than getting their son home on leave, as they might have expected in March, on
7th May 1918 they received the feared telegram advising them that he had died from
his wounds 11 days earlier.

A letter received by his family, written by Artemus' Officer, V.W. Darling (?) on 23rd July
states that he died at a Casualty Clearing Station having received his wounds on the last
day of the action described in the War Diary above, i.e. 27th April. It reads in part:

"Kindly excuse me for not replying to your letter sooner but I have been away from the battn.
for three weeks and your letter arrived after I left. Your brother I regret to say was badly hit in
the legs and abdomen on April 27th. He was conveyed as quickly as possible to the aid post
and from there he was evacuated to the C.C.S. where as you know he died."

· The Buxton Advertiser 18 May 1918
· I am grateful to Adam Llewellyn for providing me with the 15th Battalion War Diary for April 1918
· I am also grateful to Artemus' great niece, Marie Kearney, and her father for the private letters received from him to his family.

Link to CWGC Record
Private Artemus Bagshaw's grave
Private Artemus Bagshaw