Arthur Herbert Gosling

Arthur Gosling was born at Stanway, near Colchester, on 29th January 1881.  His parents Alfred and Hannah were the Master and Matron of the Lexden and Winstree Union Workhouse which was situated on the south side of London Road.  The family, including Arthur and his 3 older siblings, lived in the Master’s quarters which were situated in the centre of the main building.

At the age of 15, Arthur joined the Merchant Navy.  He later served for 3 years in the South African Constabulary before returning to his calling as a Seaman. 

Alfred and Hannah Gosling moved to Great Bromley (where they lived at The Hollies) sometime between 1901 and 1909, most likely when Alfred retired.  After Alfred’s death in September 1909, Hannah continued to live in the house along with her daughter Amanda.  

By the summer of 1915, Arthur was in Canada, and on 30th July he volunteered to join the Canadian Expeditionary Force (C.E.F.) at Vernon, British Columbia.  His enlistment papers describe Arthur as being 5 foot 7 inches tall, with blue eyes and fair hair. 

The C.E.F. was the name given to the field force created by Canada for service overseas in the War.  Canada was the senior Dominion of the British Empire, and automatically went to war with Germany with the British Declaration on 4th August 1914.  During the course of the war, the Canadians earned themselves a reputation as a formidable fighting force, and as a result were often used as assault troops.

Arthur left Canada on April Fool’s Day 1916 and arrived in England eight days later.  He was posted to France at the end of June, and the following month joined the C.E.F.’s 29th (Vancouver) Battalion. 

His service in France included involvement in the Battle of the Somme in 1916 and the Battle of Arras (where the Canadian Corps played a major role in the capture of Vimy Ridge) in 1917.  In August 1917 during the Battle of Hill 70 (near Lens) Arthur was wounded in the eye and left hip. His wounds were not overly serious, and he was returned to duty the following month.

On the night of 2nd/3rd June 1918, a force of 183 men from the 29th Battalion took part in a trench raid on the German line, near the village of Boiry Becquerelle.  The raid was successful, but the Battalion suffered 49 casualties, including 12 dead.  One of those killed was Arthur.

Arthur - along with 7 of his comrades who were killed in the raid - now rests in the Bellacourt Military Cemetery, south-west of Arras.