Arthur Ernest Plowman †

This page attempts to set out the key events of Arthur Ernest Plowman’s (see also his Lives profile) life, with detailed references. See the bottom of the page for automatically generated links to blog posts which refer to this page. For some reason he was not actually included in the original roll of honour, but conclusive proof has been found that he rang at Beddington (and in fact that he was at least the third generation of his family to do so).

Personal life

Born: On 15 April 1898 At: Wallington, Surrey
Birth registered: 2nd quarter 1898 Croydon Registration District
Died: 29 April 1917 At: South of Gavrelle, France
Death registered: ? ?
Aged: 19
Commemorated: Arras Memorial to the Missing


Learnt to ring: Beddington Association membership: ? Elected: ?
Peals: None (1 quarter peal)


Occupation (1916): Painter (or Printer)

War service

Service: Army Rank: Private Enlisted: 10 May 1916
Corps: Training Reserve Subunit: 30th Battalion Number: TR/10/21013
Royal Fusiliers 15 Platoon, 4 Company, 13th Battalion GS/65041
Campaign medals: British War Medal and Victory Medal

Life events

Date Modifier Date Event Description/Notes Sources
Before 31 December 1896 Parents’ marriage Arthur John Plowman and Kate Groves, registered 4th quarter 1896, Croydon Registration District, Surrey FreeBMD1; FreeBMD2
On 15 April 1898 Birth Arthur Ernest Plowman (he appears to have been known as Ernest, judging by reports in The Ringing World), was born at Wallington, Surrey, on 15 April 1898, registered 2nd quarter 1898, Croydon Registration District. FreeBMD3; CroydonRoH
On 31 March 1901 Census Arthur Ernest Plowman, aged 3, residing 11 Westfield Road, Croydon. The other people in the house were his parents Arthur J (28, born Beddington), foreman packer rubber goods (as the 1911 Census shows him as a despatch clerk in the bicycle and motor trade, one suspects this refers to inner tubes, tyres and the like!) and Kate (26, born Newbury Berkshire). There is also a boarder, Alfred G Dixon (24), warehouseman rubber goods. Census1901
Before 30 September 1902 Birth of sister Doris Kate George born Croydon, Surrey, registered 3rd quarter 1902, Croydon Registration District FreeBMD4; Census1911
On 2 April 1911 Census Arthur Ernest Plowman, aged 12 schoolboy, residing 4 Ainsworth Road, Croydon, Surrey. With him were his parents: Arthur John (38), despatch clerk, cycle and motor trade; and Kate (36). They had now been married 14 years with two children, both still living. Also present was the other child, Doris Kate (8); and two boarders, Lewis Phillip Hirsch (35, born Russia), a mercantile traveller and Thomas James (21, born Slough), a compositor. Census1911
Before 30 June 1912 School The Croydon Roll of Honour states that he was educated at Welcome Hall school. This seems to have been effectively overflow premises for the Parish Church School. CroydonRoH; PCS
Before 23 April 1916 Quarter Peal For the evening service on Easter Day 1916 the Beddington band rang a quarter peal of Grandsire Triples with Ernest (his initial is given only as E) on the tenor and his father on the treble. It was stated to be “the first [quarter peal] by the ringer of the tenor, who is one of Beddington’s youngsters”. This is the only record found of him actually ringing. RW1
On 10 May 1916 Enlisted The Surrey Recruitment Registers record that he attested on 10 May 1916, going to the 30th Training Battalion. He was recorded as being 18 years 1 month, 5’6″ tall, weighing 131 lbs and having a 35″ chest with 3″ expansion, a painter [possibly a typo for printer, see below], born Wallington, attested Croydon, and living 4 Ainsworth Road, Croydon. 10th (Reserve) Battalion, East Surrey Regiment did not actually change its designation to 30th Battalion, Training Reserve, until 1 September 1916 so it appears that although he joined the army reserve on 10 May he was not actually called up for training until later in the year. This is supported by the Croydon Roll of Honour which actually lists his enlistment date as 1 September 1916. SRR; TR; CroydonRoH
On 1 September 1916 Called Up The Croydon Roll of Honour actually lists his enlistment date as 1 September 1916. Presumably this was actually when he was called up. He would initially have been assigned the number TR/10/21013. Soldiers Died in the Great War states his previous number with 30th Battalion Training Reserve was 21013, but training reserve numbers had a a prefix based on the Army Records Office responsible for the men’s records. The roll of honour gives his occupation as “apprentice to a printer’s machine minder”, so it seems likely that the occupation of painter given in the Recruitment registers is actually a mistranscription of printer (the Recruitment Registers are only readily available in transcription, without images of the original registers). TR; CroydonRoH; SRR; SDGW
On 29 March 1917 Posted On 19 March 1917 Ernest was posted to a Base Depot in France as final preparation for joining a frontline unit, he had now been transferred to the Royal Fusiliers and issued the service number GS/65041 MIC; MedallRoll
On 15 April 1917 Posted On 15 March 1917 Ernest was posted to 13th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers. MedallRoll
On 17 April 1917 Joins unit The war diary of 13th Royal Fusiliers records the arrival of a “small draft” on 17 March, presumably Ernest was part of that draft (a larger draft of 90 men was received on 22 March, but it seems unlikely he would have taken a week to make the journey). The battalion was then at Izel-lès-Hameau, just under 20km west of Arras. The battalion had already been involved in the opening phases of the Battle of Arras and the war diary goes on to state “Still very short of men – and especially short of officers”. WarDiary
On 19 April 1917 Battalion move The battalion marched east from Izel-lès-Hameau to Agnez-lès-Duisans, about halfway to Arras. WarDiary
On 20 April 1917 Battalion move The battalion moved on to “Railway Cutting”. They were also warned for an attack to take place on 23 April. WarDiary
On 22 April 1917 Battalion move The battalion moved up to the assembly point (south of Gavrelles) for the attack due the following day, arriving around midnight 22/23 April, at the cost of six casualties (presumably from shelling). WarDiary
On 23 April 1917 Attack The battalion went into the attack at 04:45 on 23 April. Some progress was made but they could not reach their main objective. The next few days were spent in consolidating the ground they had gained, and carrying out patrols. WarDiary
On 28 April 1917 Attack The battalion went into the attack at 04:25 on 28 April, once again trying to reach the objective that had been the aim on 23 April (“the brown line”, principally the area round a crossroads on the Gavrelle-Roeux road – the roads in this area are now much changed following the building of an autoroute). The attack was largely successful, but the situation was rather confused by 63rd (Royal Naval) Division who were attacking just to the south swinging wound to much towards the north and getting mixed up with the Royal Fusiliers. WarDiary
On 29 April 1917 Battalion relief On 29 April the battalion was relieved by 9th Battalion, Cameronians. The whole time the battalion was under heavy fire of various sorts. WarDiary
On 29 April 1917 Reported missing It was presumably after the relief that the roll was formally called and Ernest was found not to be there to answer his name. The medal roll notes “D/P [death presumed] 29.4.17”. He is commemorated on the Arras Memorial to the Missing. His death was reported in The Ringing World, but only in passing in an article in December 1918 about the funeral of Serjeant-Major John Webb of Benhilton. The article does confirm that Ernest was the son of A J Plowman. For some reason he was not included on the Surrey Association roll of honour when it was drawn up a few years later, nor on the CCCBR roll (which was compiled from lists supplied by the various member associations). His mother susbequently made an enquiry to the Red Cross in the hope he was a prisoner of war, but they had no information. The record card for the enquiry does also tell us that he was in 15 Platoon, 4 Company, and that he was reported missing in the area of “Greenland Hill”. This feature can be seen on trench maps digitised by the National Library of Scotland. MedalRoll; CWGC; RW2



  1. FreeBMD1: Marriages Dec 1896 – Plowman Arthur John
  2. FreeBMD2: Marriages Dec 1896 – Groves Kate
  3. FreeBMD3: Births Jun 1898 – Plowman Arthur Ernest
  4. FreeBMD4: Births Sep 1902 – Plowman Doris Kate


  1. Census1901: RG 13/641 Folio 103 Page 17 Schedule Number 95 – Plowman household, 11 Westfield Road, Croydon (mistranscribed as Bowman on at least one census website)
  2. Census1911: RG 14/3325 and RG 78/126 Registration District 39 Subdistrict 3 Enumeration District 3 Schedule Number 54 – Plowman household, 4 Ainsworth Road, Croydon

Military records

  1. SRR: The Surrey Recruitment Registers, Surrey History Centre Reference 2496/41 (Volume 14 page 83). For more details see the description of the collection at the Surrey History Centre, transcripts are available on CD from the Surrey History Trust and also on FindMyPast
  2. MIC: Medal card of George, Robert I
  3. MedalRoll:
    Royal Fusiliers other ranks: medal rolls TP/104B18; TP/104B19; TP/104B20. Pages 2441-2745. British War Medal and Victory Medal.
  4. WarDiary: WO 95/2532/2 – War Diary of 13 Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, 1 August 1915 – 31 January 1918 the War Diary can be downloaded via its parent piece WO 95/2532 (fee required).
  5. TR: The Training Reserve from The Long, Long Trail by Chris Baker.
  6. CWGC: Casualty details – Plowman, Arthur Ernest
  7. SDGW: Soldier’s Died in the Great War was published by the War Office after the war. It can now be obtained in facsimile, or various genealogy websites have online versions, for example have Ernest’s entry here (subscription required).

The Ringing World

  1. RW1: 26 May 1916, p241
  2. RW2: 20 December 1918, p179

Other sources

  1. CroydonRoH: The roll was originally published in Croydon and the Great War; the official history of the war work of the borough and its citizens from 1914 to 1919, together with the Croydon roll of honour. Ernest’s entry is on page 366. A simpler online version of the roll can be found on the Croydon History website.
  2. PCS: Parish Church (now Minster) C of E Junior School: A Brief History of the School
  3. ICRC: Enquiry to the International Committee of the Red Cross in Switzerland as to whether he was a POW

4 thoughts on “Arthur Ernest Plowman †

  1. Pingback: Arthur Ernest Plowman (1898-1917†): missed from the roll | halfmuffled

  2. Pingback: Stephen Walter Godin (1899-1926) | halfmuffled

  3. Pingback: Soldiers wills, and a calendar | halfmuffled

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