Arthur Lee (1893–?)


Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment) 13271 9th Battalion

Courtesy Elizabeth Griffiths' Lea Mills postcard

Arthur lee soldier in WW1

Arthur was born in 1893 at Alderwasley, son of Benjamin and Sarah Ann Lee. He played cricket with the Alderwasley Cricket Club (see the photograph below). He worked at Lea Mills as a clerk and was one of the men who volunteered at the meeting in the factory on 17th August, 1914. He joined the forces on 25th August, 1914.

Photo courtesy Elizabeth Bunting

Alderwasley Cricket Club 1910

Arthur Lee with the Alderwasley Club in 1910 (hatless on the right side)

He enlisted as a Private and initially served in Gallipoli. After a period in Egypt he went to France, as a corporal in July 1916 . When the Company sent a parcel of groceries to him in France during October 1916, it was returned as he was in hospital. He was probably wounded between 26 and 28 September 1916 when the Foresters attacked near Thiepval. [Steve Morse]

A parcel containing vests reached him in December 1916, finding him in Cavendish Bridge VAD Hospital, Shardlow, Derby. He was discharged as the result of his wounds in October 1917 aged twenty-four, having been awarded the Silver War Badge. On his discharge record his given address was Meerbrook, Whatstandwell. He was transferred to Class P Army Reserve as Lance Corporal, no longer fit for War Service and not to be compulsorily posted for service under the Military Act 1917.
After enlistment in the Sherwood Foresters he was in the local newspaper along with James Toplis, another Lea Mills worker. Arthur married Ruth Disney in 1915 March Qtr ( Shardlow reg district)

He was not on the original Crich Roll of Honour. The Arthur Lee MM on the Roll was Arthur James Lee MM.

Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal, 6 August 1915
The Wirksworth parish magazine says: – “Since the magazine last came out, a number of our young men have started for the front. E Redfern, in the RFA, has been in hospital; Arthur Lee and Arthur Carrington started for the Dardanelles about July 1; Herbert Petts and Oscar Snow about the middle of the month for France; JHM White, whom we heartily congratulate on his promotion to be captain, left about the same time, having been engaged in Staff work, and the work of embarking troops. May they be in God's keeping and returning safety and with honours gained. Our best congratulations also to be given to George Petts who is now Lance sergt. We were glad to see Capt Shepherd-Cross home on leave and in good health.”

Lea Mills letters
Mr J. B. Marsden-Smedley, Managing Director of Lea Mills, wrote personally to Arthur.

Lea Green, Near Matlock
23rd Oct. 1916
Dear Lee,
I have sent you a parcel of eatables from Austin, Grocer, Derby, which I hope you will safely receive, and I shall be pleased to have a letter from you telling me how you are and whether the contents of the parcel are what you like. I have taken some trouble in choosing these contents and should like to know whether what has been sent is liked, so that I can have some guide when I next want to send you a parcel.
I fear the war is not over yet and that you may be some time away, and I should like you to know you are not forgotten and from time to time should like to send you a parcel. If you want any hosiery or a waistcoat write and let me know and I will do my best to send what you want. I believe all the Derbyshire men are to have a parcel at Christmas, sent by a Committee, of which the Duke of Devonshire is chairman. They have been asking for subscriptions and you will have to look out that you get your parcel.
I hope you are well and that you may have good luck and a safe return.
Yours very truly,
J. B. Marsden-Smedley
Cpl Arthur Lee 13271, C. Coy, 9th Batt. 11th Division, Sherwood Foresters, B. E. F. France

Cavendish Bridge, V.A.D. Hospital, Shardlow, Nr. Derby
To Messrs John Smedley Ltd
Dear Sirs
Many thanks for your kind gift which has reached me quite safely.
The vests were most acceptable and I’m sure that the lads in France, if they have received the same gift will appreciate your kindness very much.
My wounds are nearly healed, although; I shall never be able to walk properly again, as the principal nerve in my left leg has been severed and it has rendered my foot practically useless.
Yours respectfully
Cpl Lee A. No 13271

Army Pension Record

He attested at Derby 25 Aug 1914 aged 21 years 174 days, a clerk from Alderwasley. His height was 5ft 4in, weight 130lb, brown eyes, light brown hair and was C of E. His father was Benjamin Lee of Meerbrook, Whatstandwell; mother Sarah and had an elder brother of Middle Lodge, Whatstandwell.
25 August 1914 attested
25 August 1914 posted
25 February 1915 unpaid Lance Corporal
24 March 1915 paid lance Corporal
25 July 1916 appointed acting corporal
05 October 1916 posted corporal
24 May 1915 posted
10 June 1917 transfered to Class P Army Reserve
19 October 1917 Discharged, good character, no longer physically fit for War Service
Home 25 August 1914 to 30 June 1915
Expeditionary Forces Medn. 01 July 1915 to 27 June 1916
Exp. Force France 28 June 1916 to 07 October 1916
Home 08 Oct 1916 to 19 Oct 1917

Silver War Badge
13271 L/c Lee, Arthur; Badge 263032; enlisted 28/8/14 discharged 19/10/17; wounds; aged 24/7; served abroad; Para 392

Medal Roll Card
He was awarded the Victory, British War and 15-Star medals
Acting Corporal
Silver War Badge
Date of entry Prior to 31/12/15
Discharge 19/10/17

Newspaper report

High Peak News, 7 November 1914

Newpaper cutting 1914

Above is photograph, by Barnett, Middlesborough, of some of our local patriots now at ––, ready for the front:–
Standing (at extreme left) Private J. Toplis; 4th from left, Private B. Checkley; next on right, Private Lee (Whatstandwell), and Private Travis, on the extreme right. Left, (sitting) Private J. Margerrison; on the extreme right-hand, Private George Stacey

[Note: Private J.Toplis was James Toplis a Lea Mills workmate of Arthur Lee]

Arthur Lee is also remembered on the Alderwasley Roll of Honour in the Church

His two brothers Albert Lee and William Lee also served and are on the Alderwasley Roll of Honour


1901: Alderwasley

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
Benjamin Lee Head 50 Railway foreman Chelton Polder, Somerset
Sarah Ann Lee wife 50   Winscombe
George Lee son 19 Stone mason Tamworth
Albert Lee son 18 Builders assistant Tamworth
Herbert E Lee son 16 Clerk in architects office Tamworth
Henry Lee son 12   Whatstandwell
William Lee son 9   Alderwasley
Arthur Lee son 8   Alderwasley
Florence E Lee daughter 4   Alderwasley

RG13 piece 3235 folio 6 page 4

1911: Merebrook Cottage, Whatstandwell

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
Benjamin Lee Head 61 Railway goods foreman Chelton Polder, Somerset
Sarah Ann Lee wife 60   Winscombe
George Lee son 29 Stone mason Tamworth
Henry Lee son 22 Lace hand Whatstandwell
Arthur Lee son 18 Clerk hosiery mill Alderwasley
Florence Edith Lee daughter 14 Apprentice dressmaker Alderwasley

RG14PN21007 RG78PN1253 RD436 SD6 ED5 SN21

1939 Register: Lynwood, Matlock Road, Ripley
Arthur Lee b.4 March 1893; artificial silk spinning worker
Ruth Lee b.6 November 1894
one closed record