Arthur Dutton was born on 20 March 1895 at Golbourne-Bellow, a township of Tattenhall. His parents were Thomas Dutton, a Farm Labourer, and Eliza Dutton. Like many of his contemporaries, Arthur joined the Cheshire Regiment, his Regimental Number being 18104. He died on 29 October 1915, aged just 20 years old. He is remembered on the Tattenhall War Memorial and is buried at Le Touret Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.
The following letter from Private Arthur Dutton’s Section Commander appeared in the local press (Cheshire Observer, 13 November 1915). The letter, addressed to his mother Eliza Dutton, reads as follows:
‘October 31st, 1915 – Dear Madam – Just a few lines to convey my deepest sympathy in regard to your son’s (Arthur’s) death, which occurred on the night of the 29th inst. We were out on a working party, and in the course of the work in which we were engaged, myself and Arthur had to be on top of the parapet. I had, as his section commander, given him instructions to hand some material on to me, and we had just started when he was struck in the chest with a bullet, which come out of his right side and during its progress had touched the lung. He died four hours afterwards. He was only in pain for about ten minutes. We have lost several men on this work, which was in a dangerous position. Myself and the section deeply feel the loss of your son, who was well liked by all and was ever ready to go on any duty, however dangerous. He is buried in the cemetery at _____ (censored). Again offering my own and the section’s sympathy. L. Corpl. R. Chadwick’.
The article goes on to say ‘It is a pathetic coincidence that on the day their son was killed, Mr and Mrs Dutton received a letter and postcard from him’.
The Medals and Memorial Plaque of Arthur Dutton are shown below and have been reproduced on the Website with the kind permission of Mr J White who would have been the nephew of Private Dutton. The Plaque is so polished that it is now almost impossible to read the name of this young soldier of the Cheshire Regiment but is indicative of the esteem in which he was held at the time. Plaques such as these were issued to the next-of-kin after The Great War, were cast in bronze gunmetal and were known as the ‘Dead Man’s Penny’ or ‘Widow’s Penny’. Over 1.3m plaques were issued, using a total of 450 tonnes of bronze (see Artefacts for a further view of such Memorial Plaques).
The Plaque includes Britannia, classically robed and helmeted, supporting a trident by her right side and her right arm. In Britannia’s left outstretched hand is a laurel wreath crown above a rectangular tablet on which appears the name of the deceased. No rank is shown since there was to be no distinction in death. The words ‘HE DIED FOR FREEDOM AND HONOUR’ appear around the edge of the Plaque. In the foreground a male lion stands facing right, originally described as ‘striding forward in a menacing attitude’. Two dolphins encircle Britannia, representative of British sea-power. In symbolic confrontation, a further lion pounces on an eagle: a reference to the desired destruction of Germany. The designer was ‘E Carter Preston’ and his initials were also embossed on the Plaque.
The 1914–15 Star was awarded for service in specified theatres of war between 5 August 1914 and 31 December 1915. The Medal is a four pointed star of bright bronze, ensigned with a crown. The obverse has crossed gladius, overlaid with an oak wreath that is ensigned with the cypher of King George V. The date 1914-15 is centrally placed across the crossed blades. The 1914-15 Star ribbon has the red, white and blue colours of the Empire, in shaded and watered stripes. On the reverse of the Medal appears Private Arthur Dutton’s name, the Regiment in which he served and his Regimental Number.
The Victory Medal 1914-1919 was awarded to all eligible personnel who served in an operational theatre of war.
Private ARTHUR DUTTON
18104, 9th Bn., Cheshire Regiment
Died 30 October 1915*
Remembered with honour
*The letter to Arthur Dutton’s parents (above) recorded his death as 29 October 1915.