RUDGWICK REMEMBERS
A SUSSEX VILLAGE'S TRIBUTE TO ITS FALLEN OF TWO WORLD WARS
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ARTHUR STANLEY CROSS

SAPPER 121046
17th DIVISIONAL SIGNAL COMPANY, ROYAL ENGINEERS

KILLED IN ACTION AT THE BATTLE OF THE SAMBRE, FRANCE
4th NOVEMBER 1918, AGED 30

BURIED : A. 9.,VENDEGIES-AU-BOIS BRITISH CEMETERY,
FRANCE
Photo with kind permission of Pierre Vandervelden www.inmemories.com
ARTHUR STANLEY CROSS  was born in Carshalton, Surrey in 1888, the son of Henry William Cross and Ellen Cross, and brother of Leslie Henry Cross* (born Carshalton 1890).

In 1891 the family were living in Carshalton Road, Carshalton, and Arthur's father was a Police Constable in the Metropolitan Police Force. His mother, Ellen, was born in Billingshurst and this was presumably the family's initial connection with the Rudgwick area. By 1901 the family had moved to West Street, Carshalton, and in 1909 Henry's death at the age of 55 was registered in Croydon.

Ellen moved the family back to the Billingshurst area and by 1911 she was living with her two sons in Five Oaks. Arthur had become a saddler and harness maker, and his brother Leslie a painter and glazier.

In 1912 the marriage of Arthur to Edith Cheesmore was registered in Horsham. Edith was the daughter of William & Caroline Cheesmore, who in 1911 were living in The Haven, near Billingshurst, where William was a farmer and the sub postmaster and Edith was a post office assistant.

TO FRANCE WITH THE BRITISH EXPEDITIONARY FORCE

Arthur enlisted for service in Petworth, joining the Royal Engineers. His service records appear to have been destroyed during the Blitz of the Second World War, but comparison of his service number with surviving records of men with similar service numbers suggests that he enlisted for service prior to September 1915.

Following his basic training Arthur arrived in France to join the British Expeditionary Force on 20th December 1915. He served with 17th Divisional Signal Company, which would have involved establishing and maintaining field communications between the Divisional Headquarters and within it's three Brigades.

In 1918 Arthur registered on the Absent Voters List for the forthcoming General Election, and gave his home address as The Haven, near Billingshurst. On the 8th August 1918 the Commonwealth Forces on the Western Front launched a counter offensive to challenge the German Spring Offensive. This was the start of the final 100 days of the war.

By the start of November the German Army had withdrawn to a defensive line based upon the Sambre-Oise Canal. The British High Command had realised that the German resistance was crumbling, and therefore conceived a massed offensive on the position with the aim of sweeping the remnants of opposition from the field. This proved to be the final battle of the First World War that the British Army was to participate in.

THE BATTLE OF SAMBRE - 4TH NOVEMBER 1918

In the pre dawn mists of Monday 4th November 1918 infantry of the First, Third and Fourth Armies advanced along a 30 mile front behind an intensive artillery barrage. The day would end with the German positions being forced back from the Sambre Canal in disorder and on the brink of defeat. The Armistice drew the First World War to a close just one week later. One of the men who fell in action on this day was Sapper Arthur Stanley Cross, who was laid to rest in Vendegies-au-Bois British Cemetery. 17th Divisional Signal Company also lost       
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission gives Arthur's widow, Edith's address as Hayesden Farm, Tonbridge, Kent, so presumably she moved away from the Rudgwick area following the loss of her husband. Arthur was posthumously awarded the 1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal for his military service.
Vendegies-au-Bois British Cemetery, France

Photo with kind permission of Pierre Vandervelden
www.inmemories.com
* Family Information
Leslie Henry Cross served as Leslie Cross, initially as Pte G/1873 8th Bn Royal Sussex Regiment. He enlisted in Horsham on 02/09/1914 at the age of 23 years 11 months. Occupation Blacksmith. Embarked Southampton, 24/07/1915. Transferred to the 120th (Railway) Coy Royal Engineers on 24/02/1916, becoming Sapper 153047. Injured 04/05/1918. Worked as a blacksmith. Mothers address given as Church View, Slinfold. Demobilized 01/04/1919.





Sources:
1891,1901,1911 Census Returns
Free BDM
Soldiers Died in the Great War
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Soldier's Medal Record Cards