Arthur Wroot

arthur wrootPrivate, 9748, 1st Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment, died of wounds at home, 18th February 1920, aged 28

Born at Eastoft in 1891, the elder brother of Frederick and Dan, Arthur was the second son and one of ten children of Frederick and Alice Mary Wroot (nee Holmes). His father was from Eastoft and mother from Belton. When Arthur was born the family ran a grocery shop in Eastoft, High Street. They moved to Crowle around 1895 and in 1901 lived in North Street where Frederick Snr was a farmer and cattle dealer.

On leaving school Arthur had become a farm labourer and in1909 he was working for R J Roberts at Sandhouse Farm, Swinefleet. When his contract there finished Arthur decided on a change of career and on 16th April 1910, enlisted in the York & Lancaster Regiment at Doncaster, aged 18 years 10 months.

He was sent to Pontefract for his initial training and here Arthur decided the Army routine wasn’t for him and on 28th May 1910 he went absent without leave. He returned to duty on 9th June but a month later he went absent again, this time for good and on 9th July 1910 was declared to have deserted.

How hard the army looked for him is unsure but on census day 1911 he was working as waggoner for Arthur Ashley at Thorne Bush Carr Farm, Medge Hall. However in June 1912 the Army caught-up with him and he was apprehended and brought back to be tried by District Court Martial, through which he was sentenced to 21 days detention for desertion and brought back into the ranks as a soldier.

Serving out his sentence on 20th July 1912 he was quickly posted out to join the 2nd York & Lancaster’s in Ireland. In March 1913 he was transferred again, this time to join the 1st York & Lancaster’s in India and was serving there with them when war was declared. Apparently he was a model soldier. His character was described as ‘clean, sober and hardworking’, he was a waiter in the Corporal’s Mess and played cricket for his battalion.

Returning back to Britain on 19th November 1914, the battalion was re-equipped and sent out to France on 15th January 1915. Unfortunately Arthur was not with them as he had gone absent without leave again, most likely taking the time to attend his father’s funeral. This was a dangerous action in wartime, when deserter’s were shot, for someone with his record. Arthur finally arrived in France on 20th January 1915 and forfeited 8 days pay.

Arthur was wounded in action twice. The first occasion was on 18th April 1915 immediately prior to the Battle of Ypres when he suffered a gunshot wound to his lower left ribs. This injury must have been slight as he was back in the front line at Ypres a matter of days later, when this time he suffered a much more serious injury being struck in the back by fifteen fragments from an exploding shrapnel shell.

Arthur was initially evacuated to No 11 General Hospital in Bolougne-sur-Mer, where the doctor’s were able to remove some, but not all of the shrapnel. Transferred back to Britain, on 4th May 1915 Arthur was able to write to his parents from the Military Hospital in Lakenham, Norwich, where he said that X-rays were showing that six pieces of shrapnel were still in his body and he was waiting for an operation.

Unfortunately for Arthur he was to have many more periods waiting for and recuperating from surgical operations. The position of the shrapnel meant that several delicate operations were required to extract them, a task that was made all the more complicated by bouts of weakness and relapses from malarial fever he had contracted in India. When he wrote to his parents in July 1917 he had undergone seven operations, had five ribs taken out and there was still more shrapnel to be removed.

Arthur was to remain in the Norwich area for many months, alternating between periods of recuperation at the Red Cross Hospital in Thorpe-St-Andrew and his operations at Lakenham. However there were other periods when he was well enough to leave hospital and he was working for a Mr Mills, Hall Farm, Thorpe-St-Andrew in August 1916 when he was assessed by the army board as unfit for service and given an honourable discharge from the Army.

In 1920 Arthur was once again in hospital, this time the 2nd Northern Hospital, Leeds. Here on 18th February 1920 Arthur Wroot finally succumbed to illness caused by his wounds. He is buried in Crowle Cemetery.


grave of arthur wroot

Grave of Arthur Wroot in Crowle Cemetery, courtesy Angus Townley/Crowle & Ealand Heritage Society. Strangely the army have added 7 years onto his age.