Arthur Hennis Perrott – ‘his loss makes a great blank in my day’

Arthur Hennis Perrott u00a9 IWM (HU 116870)

Title: Arthur Hennis Perrott u00a9 IWM (HU 116870)
Description: Copyright: Imperial War Museum HU116870 by-nc

Born on 13th June 1885 in Shoeburyness, Essex, Arthur was the second son of Major-General Sir Thomas Perrott K.C.B. and his wife, Lady Gertrude Perrott. Both his parents were born in Youghall, Ireland but, as Sir Thomas was a career soldier who was commissioned into the Royal Artillery at the age of 19, the family lived in itinerant life. Arthur was educated at Windlesham House School (Sussex) and Wellington College (Berkshire). Whilst at Wellington, he applied for admission to the Royal Military Academy on 27th August 1903.

He was gazetted to the Princess Charlotte of Wales’ (Royal Berkshire) Regiment in 1905, being appointed as Lieutenant in 1909. He served as A.D.C to the General Officer Commanding the Straits Settlements until 1913 when he was appointed Adjutant to his battalion (the Ist).

His battalion landed at Rouen on 13th August 1914 and he was killed less than one month later on 10th September 1914 towards the end of the Battle of the Marne. His battalion’s War Diary for the day reads:

‘Went about to deploy for further action against hostile artillery. Heavy Shell fire from left. ……Casualties Lt A. H. Perrott and 1 other rank killed. Other ranks 23 wounded……’.

He was buried in the churchyard of the Hautes-Vesne Aisne along with a private from his regiment. A letter from the British Red Cross Society written to his parents in November 1914 is held in Lieutenant Perrott’s file in the National Archive. It describes how the grave is marked with a simple wooden cross with the inscription ‘ Lieut. A.H. Perrott R.I.P.’ and the letter continues:

‘both those graves are well-kept and cut flowers are constantly renewed on them and in addition on that of Lt Perrott some small flowers are planted in the shape of a cross, while a little box is planted to mark the edges.’

Commonwealth War Graves records show that he was subsequently exhumed and reburied in Oulchy-le-Chateau Churchyard Extension, France.

Arthur’s kit was sold at auction and added to his estate with the following personal items being retained for his family: prayer book, pocket book, silver pencil, wristwatch and revolver.

By the time probate was granted, Arthur’s parents were living in the Green Farm, Bagshot. Arthur is remembered on both Bagshot and Windlesham War Memorials. Further, the Rev A. J. Hutton of St John’s Church, Windlesham writes of Arthur in the Windlesham Roll of Honour:

‘Lieutenant and Adjutant Arthur H Perrott of the 1st Battalion of the Royal Berks Regiment left Aldershot from France on August 12th 1914. He was killed on Sept 10th 1914.

His colonel wrote to his parents –

“your son was my trusted & confidential friend during those days of retirement from Mons; he shared anxieties with me that no one else knew of. In action he was cool & collected and no matter how weary he did his work unflaggingly.-

As my Adjutant you know he had my fullest confidence. He was the most popular officer in the regiment and his loss makes a great blank in my days” ‘

As well as Windlesham, Bagshot and Wellington College, Arthur is further remembered some 400 miles away in the little church of St Colmon in Ayrshire. This beautiful church has a war memorial window by Louis Davis which is a memorial to family and friends of the McConnel* and Wellington* families who lost their lives on the First World War. The inscription below the window reads “To the glory of God and in memory of our kindred and guests whose lives were accepted in the Great War.” Arthur is one of over thirty names listed there.

 St Colmon Church WW1 memorial window

Title: St Colmon Church WW1 memorial window
Description: St Colmon Church, Colmonell Ayrshire; photograph: Moira NairnnArthur Hennis Perrott is remembered there. by-nc

St Colmon Church, WW1 Memorial plaque

Title: St Colmon Church, WW1 Memorial plaque
Description: St Colmon Parish Church, Colmonell, Ayrshire. Memorial plaque containing name of Arthur Hennis Perrott.nPhotograph by permission of Claire Pirrie, Session Clerk. by-nc

*The McConnels are a local family who owned Knockdolian Castle and estate in Ayrshire; members of the family are related by marriage to the Dukes of Wellington.

Bibliography

Hutton A.J., date unknown, Windlesham Roll of Honour SHC Ref: Z_682_1 34A

Kelly’s Directory 1913, 1915, 1918, 1919

National Archive WO339/6284

St Colmon Church Colmonell, Stained Glass Windows

Bagshot Roll of Honour (http://www.roll-of-honour.com/Surrey/Bagshot.html)

War Diary 1st Royal Berkshire Regiment – The Wardrobe (http://www.thewardrobe.org.uk/research/war-diaries/detail/38)

Photographs:

Imperial War Museum IWM HU116870 (https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205387040)

Window Plaque, St Colmon Church, Colmonell:  copyright: Claire Pirrie, Session Clerk, Colmonell

Stained Glass Window, St Colmon Church: copyright: Moira Nairn

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