The Friends of St. Peter's Berkhamsted

Friends of St Peter's, Great Berkhamsted

Ringsell, Arthur (1879 – 1926)


Arthur was born in Windsor to blacksmith William and his wife Mary Ann. By 1881 the family were living in Cockham, Berkshire but both William and Mary Ann originated from Chesham, Buckinghamshire. Arthur was their fourth child and his older brother William had already followed his father into the blacksmith trade. By 1891 the family had moved to Leighton Buzzard and had a further four children.

In December 1895 Arthur joined the Bedfordshire regiment at Drayton Lodge. His trade or calling was given as a baker. Prior to this he had served in the 4th battalion, Bedfordshire reserves. In April 1898 he was promoted to lance corporal but before the end of that year he had been demoted back to a private. He served in East India from 1897 to 1902. From there he went to South Africa where he served during the Boar war until he returned home in April 1903.

On 4th January 1905 he married Sarah Ellen Ward at St John’s Bourne End. Their first child William was born in June of that year and in November 1906 a second child Lillian Maud Emily was born, both in Berkhamsted.

Arthur had signed up for “7 years with the colors (sic) and 5 years in the reserve” but in December 1907 he was re-engaged for four years. It is not clear if this was in the reserves but we know that by 1911 he is showing as baker living with his young family, a further child Bessie Doris was with them, at 30 Castle Street, Berkhamsted.

He was eventually discharged from the army on 4 Dec 1911. But he wasn’t a civilian for long, in May 1915 at the age of 38 he joined the Army Service Corp at Aldershot. He left Sarah who was eight months pregnant with four young children. The Army Service Corps, nicknamed the Ally Sloper’s Cavalry, was the unsung hero of the British Army in the War. An Army cannot fight without food, equipment and ammunition. The vast supplies required was sent from Britain using horse and motor vehicles, railways and waterways. It is likely that Arthur used his skills as a baker in the ASC. He initially served in the UK but in July 1918 he was sent to France at the same time as he was promoted to a sergeant.

In August 1919, after the war had ended, Arthur volunteered for a further year. In September 1920 he was discharged as “No longer physically fit for war service”, his address was given as 9 Middle Road, Berkhamsted. His disability was due to a Gastric Ulcer which qualified him for a pension, his records state that he was 70% incapacitated attributed to Military Service.

He found some work doing odd jobs and delivering morning and evening newspapers. He was in poor health and became very anxious when his pension was up for renewal by the medical board in 1926. This concern and his poor health led him to take his own life. He cut his own throat in the Castle grounds near the moat and was found by friends, bleeding profusely, having walked some 150 yard to the railway arch. He was placed on a milk float and taken to a doctor and later by ambulance to West Herts hospital where he died in June 1926 aged 47.

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