Private Arthur DICKEN

Northumberland Fusiliers
(Formerly: Sherwood Foresters
[Notts and Derby Regiment])
6th Battalion
Service Number:
267260 (Formerly: 7798)
(Fly: 11/17894 Sherwood Foresters
[Notts & Derby Regiment])
Date of Death:
12 September 1919 - Died
Cemetery / Memorial:
Grave Reference:
West of Church

Personal History:
Arthur was born in the September quarter 1893, the son of William and Elizabeth (née Knowles) Dicken. By 1901 Arthur was an orphan, his father dying in the March quarter 1901 and his mother in the September quarter 1897. At the time of the Census (Census RG 13/3269) he was living with his elder brother, William H., and elder sister, Edith M., at the home of his stepbrother William Arnett, Montpelier Cottage, Fairfield, Buxton.

Ten years later (911 Census RG 14/21234) Arthur was lodging with another "half-step-brother ", Joseph Armitt and his family at 57 Kings Road, Fairfield, Buxton. At that time he was employed as a "Lime Picker" in a local quarry.

At the time of his enlistment he was 5 ft. 6½ ins. (1.69 m) tall, had a 'sallow' complexion, grey eyes and brown hair, and gave his religion as 'Church of England'. When he enlisted he gave his occupation as "Quarryman", was 5 ft. 6½ ins. (1.69 m) tall and weighed 9 st. 0 lbs. (57.1 kgs.). At the end of his War Service he address was recorded as 2 Cross Street, Fairfield, Buxton - his parents' home.
In the March quarter 1919 Arthur married Ethel Coates and they lived at 1 West View, off Queens Road, Buxton. In the September quarter that year their son Arthur, was born, but unfortunately the little boy died in the same quarter. Arthur, Jnr.'s death was mentioned in 'The Buxton Advertiser' at the time of his father's death, recording that within just a few months of her marriage Ethel had lost first her baby then her husband.

After his Army Service ended Arthur returned to his pre-War employment with Buxton Lime Industries as a "Crusher Feeder" at Cowdale Quarry. Probate Records show he left £79 in his will.

Military History:
Arthur enlisted into the Sherwood Foresters in Buxton on 16th October 1914 and a week later was posted to the 11th (Service) Battalion which had been formed at Derby in September 1914 as part of K3 (Kitchener's Third New Army) and became part of 70th Brigade in 23rd Division. The Battalion moved to Stanhope Lines at Aldershot in December 1914 and to Shorncliffe in February 1915 before moving on in May to Bordon.

His Medal Index Card shows that Arthur embarked from Folkestone and entered France with the 11th Battalion on the 27th August 1915. He returned home on the 8th July 1916, returning to France from Folkestone to Boulogne on 5th October 1916 to be based near Tilques. Arthur transferred in the field to the 1/6th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers on the 15th October 1916 and was allocated the number 7798. The 1/6th were attached to the 149th Brigade, 50th (Northumbrian) Division.

Arthur probably did not join his new Battalion in time to take part in the Division's engagements in the later stages of the Battles of the Somme and was invalided home before they re-engaged the enemy at The First Battle of the Scarpe, (9th - 14th April 1917).

On the 23rd March 1917 he again returned to England and was posted to the Battalion Depot, and again on the 14th June to the 4th (Reserve) Battalion. A month later, 11th July, Arthur Records show that he was posted again to the Class P (T) Reserve Battalion, effectively returning to Buxton. It was at that time he was allotted another new number, 260017, under ACI 2414/16. Men in Classes P and P(T) were, for the purposes of pay, allowances, gratuity and pension, treated as if they been discharged on the date of their transfer to Class P or P(T); that is. they did not receive money from the Army. In total he had served 2 years 269 days with the Colours.

He was "discharged as no longer physically fit for War Service" on the 19th November 1917. His Pension Records state he was suffering from "Nephritis" (inflammation of one or both of the kidneys). Later he was awarded a pension, deemed to take effect from the 12th July 1917, the day after his transfer to Class P (T) status. This pension entitlement was due to expire on the 15th January 1918.  His condition was deemed to due to "Natural causes, aggravated by War Service. Not permanent", hence the short term pension.

After a further review on 12th December 1917 his pension was extended to the 27th August 1918. Another review on 17th July 1918 extended it again for a further year, to 27th August 1919. Just two weeks later Arthur collapsed and died whilst at work and was buried in his local churchyard at Fairfield, alongside his older brother William, who had died in the December quarter 1917.

The Buxton Advertiser of the 20th September 1919 called Arthur's death ".. sudden .." and ".. untimely ..", and that "With the bereaved widow much sympathy will be offered." At his Inquest Arthur's wife, Ethel, gave evidence that for the previous four months he had ".. been attended by Dr. Richardson …. As he complained about his head aching at the back. He also said he felt weak."

George William Mycock gave evidence that he too worked at Cowdale Quarry and that: "About 10.30 on Friday morning he found the deceased lying on the flat platform. He was alive. … The deceased had been filling a stone wagon - lifting stone from the ground to the wagon - with lumps of from 40 lbs. to 50 lbs." [18.1 - 22.7 kgs.] (N.B. George William Mycock was the son of Thomas and Ellen, of Market Street, Buxton, not the George William Mycock commemorated on this site.)

Dr. Hendy gave evidence of his post mortem examination. He said that a bruise above his eye was superficial, but that Arthur had " .. signs of chronic kidney disease and associated with this condition, his heart was enlarged to almost twice the normal size."  His conclusion that death was due to heart failure, aggravated by the disease of the kidneys. Amazingly, "He did not think the man's work affected the issue, but it was possible that hard manual work might accelerate it."

The Coroner adjourned the inquest pending a report from the Inspector of Mines, but on reconvening " .. no questions were asked and the Coroner recorded a verdict … of heart failure aggravated by kidney disease."

· "The Buxton Advertiser" - 20th September 1919

Link to CWGC Record
St Peter's Church Fairfield
Pt Arthur Dicken's Grave
Pt Arthur Dicken