Arthur Wigley


Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derbys Regiment) 1845 6th Battalion, E Coy & A Coy
Royal Flying Corps 21572 9th Squadron
Royal Air Force 21572 9th Squadron

Photo Lea Mills postcard

Arthur Wigley in WW1

Arthur Wigley was one of the first men from Lea Mills to volunteer for military service. He enlisted on 4th August 1914 and joined up on 14th August 1914. The Parish Magazine records that on 23rd August 1914 he was with E Coy 6th Notts & Derbys Regt (Territorials). Before he left for service, he worked in the Factory of Lea Mills. Initially, he went to Dunstable and in November 1914 he reported ‘I have been attached to the Signallers this last week. Reveille was at 4-30 this morning.’ By December he was at Ongar in Essex with Edgar Oliver. On December 13th he wrote from Ongar, ‘I spent my evenings from 6 till 7-45 in the Budworth Hall which has been turned into a Hospital for wounded Belgians, and I have learned a little of their language.’
On 23rd February 1915, he is recorded as Pte A.Wigley No 1845, A Coy, 6th Battalion Sherwood Forester. at Epping, Essex. The people of Ongar did not like soldiers in their midst and he wrote, ‘We shall have to mess all together as the people will not cook the food in the billets.’ By April 1915, he was stationed in Luton. It was from Luton that he reported on the allocation of rifles. They were clearly not English rifles as ‘the calibre is less than the English, the bolt action is very simple.’ And by May, he was a member of a fatigues party ‘making a Rifle Range for the Division’ with thity-two targets. His role as a signaller was confirmed in September 1915: Signaller A Wigley No 1845, 9th Platoon, C Coy 9th Prov. Battalion, Wivenhoe, near Colchester.

From there he progressed to the newly formed Royal Flying Corp and changed his rank and number. Second Air Mechanic A Wigley No 21572, B Squadron, R.F.C. He became a 1st Class Air Mechanic and progressed through the non commissioned ranks. First he became a Fitter (RFC Classification), then Turner (Remustered Air Force Trade Qualification), then Sergeant (RFC rank) and Sergeant Mechanic (New rank in the Air Force). He joined the Air Force on 9th March 1916 and the date of his last promotion was on 1st March 1918. He returned to Lea Mills after the War.

RAF Record
21572 (Air Force number); Wigley, A (Name); Fitter (Tnr.) (RFC Classification); Turner (Remustered Air Force Trade Classification ); Sergeant (RFC rank); Sergeant.Mech (New rank in Air Force); 09/03/16 (Date of joining); 01/03/18 (Date of last propmotion); 6s 0d (Normal Airforce Pay) DW (Term of enlistment)

JB Marsden-Smedley letters

Royal Flying Corps, Corpus Christi, Oxford
Dear Sirs
I am in receipt of your very welcome parcel for which I thank you.  It is a gift that I greatly appreciate.
Wishing you a pleasant Christmas & every success in the coming year.
I am Yours Truly
A Wigley  Corpl RFC

B.E.F. France
29.  8.  17.
To Messrs. A & JB M Smedley
Dear Sirs
Many thanks for the parcel received on the 27 Aug.  Owing to the secure packing the contents were quite intact.  I am sure I appreciate your kindness.  I am in good health,
I am Yours Truly
A Wigley Cpl

Dear Sirs
Many thanks for the substantial present received on the 2.1.18.
Owing to my being away from the Squadron, I did not receive any mail until after my return, which accounts for the receipt on the 2nd. I am in very good health, and am hopeing for leave in the early Spring. Wishing you a Prosperous and Peaceful New Year
I am Yours Truly
A Wigley Cpl


1901: Commonside Holloway

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
Aaron Wigley Head 38 Hosiery weaver Merino Bonsall
Eliza Middleton Wigley wife 29   Bonsall
Arthur Wigley son 5   Bonsall

RG13 piece 3235 folio 59 page 6

1911: Cooperative Terrace Holloway

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
Aaron Wigley Head 48 Hosiery machine fitter Bonsall
Eliza Myddleton Wigley wife 39   Bonsall
Arthur Wigley son 15 Hosiery machine fitter Bonsall
Iver Arnold Wigley son 4   Holloway
Ann Eliza Wigley visitor 51   Bonsall

RG14PN21012 RG78PN1253 RD436 SD6 ED10 SN158