Arthur Jesson, cricket captain

Arthur was the son of Charles (a gardener) and Sarah Ann Jesson of Market Harborough, who married in 1873. Arthur and one of his brothers, Ernest, went to Wyggeston Grammar School for Boys in Leicester, after which Arthur joined the Accountant-General’s Office of the General Post Office.  In 1911 (census), Arthur was living with his sister, Elizabeth, her husband William Potter Palmer and their son William James Palmer at The Firs, Culmer, Witley.  Arthur played cricket for Witley and Godalming Cricket Clubs, was a Captain of Witley and a “stylish player”. Arthur together with Robert Lee (killed 18 November 1916, also during the battle of the Ancre) and W. Wiggan (headmaster of Witley School) were the mainstays of the team.

Arthur joined the Civil Service Rifles, part of the London Regiment, serving in France from 17 March 1915.  He was commissioned into the Bedfordshire Regiment on 4 December 1915, joined 6th Battalion on 11 December and survived the earlier Somme battles in 1916.  The Battalion Adjutant wrote to Elizabeth that in an attack on Munich Trench on 15 November 1916, during the battle of the Ancre, Arthur was killed and his body not recovered, but it was not until August 1917 that he was declared killed in action.  He has no known grave.  Arthur’s brother, Ernest, was killed on 8 October 1917 during the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele) whilst serving as a Private with the 8th Battalion, Manchester Regiment.  In a double blow to the family, Ernest’s body was also not found, so they had no graves to visit.  Arthur was awarded the 1914/15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

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