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  • Photo courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
Person Details
Hucknall Torkard
Arthur was born in 1892 in Hucknall Torkard and was the son of the late John a police officer and Annie E. Hardstaff, nee Roberts. His father John was born in 1853 in West Leake and his mother Annie Elizabeth Roberts was born in 1854 in Masboro Rotherham, her name prior to her first marriage was Gamble. They were married in 1878 in Rotherham , Annie brought to the marriage two children Annie E B Roberts b1874 Masboro and Emily E B Roberts b1875 Masboro John and Annie went on to have a further two children John b1891 at Hucknall Torkard and also Arthur Ernest born 1892 Hucknall Torkard In the 1891 census the family are living at Hucknall Torkard His father John died on 25th September 1893 By the 1901 census , the family are living at Charles Street, Hucknall Torkard, Annie is shown as a widow and head of the family 47 yrs and a needle maker, she is living with her two sons John 10 yrs and Arthur E 9 yrs. In the 1911 census his mother is living at 52 Derbyshire Lane, Hucknall Torkard she is shown as a widow 57 yrs and is living with her son John 20 yrs a grocers assistant and also at the address are two lodgers. In the same census Arthur has left the family home and we find him as a boarder at 6 Kelham Terrace, Balby, Doncaster, he is 18 yrs of age and a grocers assistant, he is living with Fred Almond a tinplate worker and his family.
He was a grocers assistant.
26 Sep 1917
25
838449 - CWGC Website
28801
Private
8th Bn East Yorkshire Regiment (Duke of York's Own)
Pte. Arthur Edward Hardstaff, 8th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment, was killed in action on 26th September 1917. Reported missing, his mother did everything she could to try and discover his fate. Arthur Edward Hardstaff was a 23 year-old Hucknall grocer’s assistant when he attested under the Derby Scheme on 7th December 1915. Unmarried, he lived with his widowed mother, Annie Hardstaff, at 27 Charles Street and it was concern for her welfare that played a part in delaying his decision to join up before then. It was not until a year later, however, when was actually called up on 12th December 1916, eventually being posted to 16th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment after landing in France on 2nd March 1917. Following a spell at the unlovely training base at Etaples he was posted to 8th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment, part of 8th Brigade, 3rd Division on 18th April. He didn’t remain long with the battalion, being wounded in his right arm on 3rd May. After treatment at Frevent and Le Treport, Arthur Hardstaff returned to his unit on 24th June. A little over three months after that, the 8th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment was to take part in the set piece attack on 26th September 1917 to capture Zonnebeke during the Third Battle of Ypres. The attack started in mist at 5.30 a.m. The 8th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment were in the vanguard but the attack ran into problems, hindered by boggy ground, obliging them to split up into smaller groups and work their way around the flooded ground. The battalion’s objectives were captured by 7.00 a.m. but Arthur Hardstaff was no longer with his comrades and reported as missing.
Second Lieutenant E. Buckle wrote to Annie Hardstaff on 10th October 1917: “My dear Madam, “I very much regret to have to inform you that your son, Pte. A.E. Hardstaff, 28801, has been missing since the 26th ult., when the Battalion was in action. No trace can be found of him after… the day of the attack. We can only assume that he fell about that time. “He was a good soldier & will be much missed in the Company. Assuring you of my sympathy. “Yours faithfully, “E. Buckle, S.Lt.” On 7th November, Arthur Hardstaff’s mother wrote to the War Office putting down her feelings as she came to terms with the loss of her only son. “Dear Sir, “I have copied the officer’s letter as I do not like parting with the one he sent me, as I think a great deal of it as it concerns my dear Son. Hoping it will do. “I wrote to him asking if he could let me know any more about my Son. He sent me another letter last week. In reply he regrets to say he was unable to give me further information & he has made extensive enquiries & he says there is only a slight hope of him being a prisoner of war & he says taking into account the existing circumstances he is sorry to say he scarcely thinks it possible. So by what the officer sent me I feel there is no hope of me hearing from my dear Son or seeing him again. “Before Sept. 26th I have heard from him two & sometimes three times a week, for he was a good Son to me. “Heart Broken Mother, A. Hardstaff.” One of Annie Hardstaff’s letters did identify her son’s body. Second Lieutenant E. Reay, Durham Light Infantry found Arthur Hardstaff’s remains in February 1918. He wrote: “Dear Mrs. Hardstaff, “Whilst employed yesterday I found the body of a soldier lying in a large shell [hole]. On examining the body I found it to be that of your son, Pte. A.E. Hardstaff, 8th East Yorks. There were some letters, a tobacco pouch, cigarette case, and identity disc on the body, and these will be forwarded to you by the authorities. “I took up a party of men, and had the body properly buried and a cross erected over the grave, with an inscription. Your address was on one of the letters, and I thought it would be of some consolation to you to know that your son was decently buried, and had a proper cross above his grave. “Please accept my deepest sympathy in your great loss and trouble. You have the satisfaction of knowing that your son died a hero’s death, and did not fail his country in her hour of need. It is indeed a very sorry and trying time for us all, but God’s will must be done.” Sadly, Arthur Hardstaff’s grave was lost subsequently. He is, therefore, commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial. All the information re Arthur Hardstaff is curtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918.
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  • Photo courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
    Arthur Edward Hardstaff - Photo courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918