Arthur Edwards was born in Wolverhampton in 1892, the son of Reuben and Jane or Jennie Edwards (nee Lea). In 1901, they were living at 9 Deanery Row, Stafford Street, together with Arthur’s sisters Nellie and Ethel. By 1911, they had moved to 15 Deanery Row, and the household simply consisted of Arthur and his parents. By this date, Arthur had become a Cramp Maker.
Arthur enlisted in the 2nd Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment (service number 8954) in October 1910. He was appointed paid Lance Corporal in May 1914, and then promoted to Corporal in September 1914. He was sent to France on 28 November 1914, where he served until 3 November 1917. In February 1915, he was tried and sentenced to be reduced to the ranks for refusing to obey a lawful command given by his superior officer.
During the course of his service, he was also awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal, which was reported in the Express & Star on 10 August 1915 (although it erroneously gives his initials as “A. E.”). His citation reads as follows:
For conspicuous gallantry on the 16th May 1915, near Rue du Bois, when he bound up three severely wounded men, who had become entangled in wire near the first line German trenches, under a very heavy shell fire, and succeeded in releasing them. He assisted two of them to the cover of the trench, and showed the greatest gallantry and devotion to duty throughout the action.
Notice of the award of the Distinguished Conduct Medal is also mentioned in the Midland Counties Express on 14 August 1915.
In February 1918 he sprained his knee during training and although the swelling went down, it did cause him problems with walking. He was discharged on 23 August 1918, and was awarded the Silver War Badge (number B4128) on 7 September 1918.
On 14 June 1916, he married Mary Ann Elizabeth Arnold at St George’s Church, Wolverhampton, and the couple went on to have three children – Arthur C., Thomas E. and Cissie E. – between 1919 and 1928. Arthur died in Wolverhampton in 1964.