Private Arthur Britton


Arthur Britton was born on 22 August 1893 in Wakefield, Yorkshire, the fourth of eight children of colliery carter Albert Britton and his wife Elizabeth Ann (née Shepherd). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Chemic, Crigglestone, Yorkshire, with his parents and five of his siblings, and working as a trammer in a coal mine.

Britton enlisted in the Dragoons of the Line on 14 December 1914 (No.11312), probably with Jesse Jagger, also from Crigglestone. Posted to the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons, he embarked for France in 1916 or the first half of 1917, possibly at the end of June 1916, having been posted to the headquarters establishment of the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment following the formation of that regiment in France from C and F Squadrons and the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron. The headquarters, formed in England and comprising 40 officers and men, joined the new regiment in France at the beginning of July.

The 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment served as corps cavalry to X Corps until August-September 1917, when the regiment was disbanded and its men were transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers, an infantry regiment. Most, including Britton, were transferred on 20 September and posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt five days later. Britton was issued regimental number 41154.

He probably saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

At some point prior to March 1918 Britton was posted to the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers, where he was posted to A Company.

Britton was captured, unwounded, during the 36th (Ulster) Division's fighting withdrawal from St Quentin from 21 to 28 March 1918 at the beginning of the German spring offensive. One record states he was captured at Dunancourt on 27 March, and another, on the Somme on 18 March. (The latter seems unlikely.) He remained a prisoner until the end of the war, held at camps in Bohain, Dülmen and Münster. He returned to England on 3 December 1918.

Following his demobilisation, Britton returned to work in the coal mines. In 1924 he was living at Oak Terrace, Darton, Yorkshire, and working as a miner. On 6 December that year he married Mabel Adelaide Coates in the Darton Parish Church. He died at nearby Staincross in 1961.