Feature of

35889 Cpl. Arthur Fielding MM.

17th and 20th Bn
Lancashire Fusiliers

This set of medal and write up came up for sale on e bay

they want £650 for them closing date 16th March 2010
to see them

A very interesting and well documented Military Medal, British War and Victory Medal pair to a Corporal of 35th Division who was wounded in action at Passchendaele with the 20th (Service) Battalion (4th Salford) Lancashire Fusiliers on the 22nd October 1917 and who was awarded a his military medal for bravery during the Final Advance in Flanders in October 1918 whilst serving with the 17th (Service) Battalion (1st South East Lancashire) Lancashire Fusiliers.

Military Medal awarded to:

35889 CPL. A. FIELDING. 17th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers.

British War and Victory Medals awarded to:

35889 CPL. A FIELDING. Lancashire Fusiliers..

With copy Medal Index Card (colour - front and back) and Medal Roll – both confirming the award of the pair only, copy Service Papers (13 pages), copy Military Medal Index Card, copy London Gazette entry and header for the award of the Military Medal (14th May 1919), copy War Diary covering the major actions in which Arthur was wounded and for which he won his Military Medal, copy Birth and Marriage certificates and 1881, 1891 and 1911 Census entries.


Arthur Fielding was born on the 13th July 1883 at 8 River Place, Hulme, Manchester in Lancashire. He was the son of ‘rat catcher’ John Fielding and Rosetta Morris, who had married in Manchester in 1873. Arthur’s father died in 1885 and his mother married again, wedding James Butler in 1889, but she too died in 1894, while Arthur was just 21 years old.

Arthur was working as a grocer when, on the 20th April 1903 he married Louisa Marland at the Parish Church of St Mark’s, Gorton. Together they had three children, all born in Hulme; Edith – 8th June 1907, Ida – 29th March 1913 and Sidney – 9th April 1915.

At the time of the 1911 Census, Arthur and his young family were living at 755 Chester Street, Stretford, Manchester and he was working as an ‘oil tank wagon driver’.

Arthur attested into the Army on the 22nd July 1916, presumably having been called up for service. At the time he was living at 106 Mill Street, Bradford and he travelled to Manchester Town Hall to enlist. He was 33 years old and gave his occupation as ‘driver salesman’. At his medical the same day he was recorded as being was 5 feet 3¾ inches tall with a 39 inch chest. He had blue eyes, brown hair and fresh complexion. He was passed fit for Military Service.

His application was accepted at the Lancashire Fusiliers Depot at Bury on the 24th July 1916 and the next day he became Private 35889 of the Lancashire Fusiliers and was posted to the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion of that Regiment. The 3rd Battalion was a training unit, based at Bury. It remained in UK throughout the war, moving within days of declaration of war to Hull (where Arthur would have joined it) and in November 1916 to Withernsea (on the North Sea coast), as part of the Humber Garrison.

On the 18th August 1916 Arthur was appointed (paid) acting Lance Corporal.

On Christmas Day 1916 he was posted to the 1st Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers, part of 86th Brigade in 29th Division, and embarked for France the same day, reverting to Private on deployment.

The 1st Battalion had been in Karachi, India when war was declared in August 1914. It returned to England, landing on the 2nd January 1915 and moved to Nuneaton, Warwickshire. On the 2nd January 1915 it was attached to 86th Brigade in 29th Division and on the 16th March 1915 sailed via Egypt to Gallipoli, landing on the 25th April 1915. It was evacuated to Egypt in January 1916 before moving to France, landing at Marseilles in March 1916 and proceeding to the Western Front.

Arthur arrived in France on Boxing Day 1916 and on the 16th January 1917 he was posted to the 20th (Service) Battalion (4th Salford) Lancashire Fusiliers, part of 104th Brigade in 35th Division. At the time they were at Manin, west of Arras, where they were undergoing training. Arthur arrived at his unit on the 20th January 1917 as part of a draft of 197 other ranks.

The 20th Battalion was formed in Salford on the 23 March 1915, by Mr Montague Barlow, MP and the Salford Brigade Committee as a Bantam Battalion. In August 1915, it moved to Conway and in August 1915 to Cholderton, Wiltshire where it was attached to 104th Brigade in 35th Division. The battalion landed at Le Havre on the 30th January 1916. It was finally disbanded in Belgium on the 16 February 1918.

On the 4th May 1917, Lance Corporal Arthur Fielding was charged that on the 2nd May 1917 when in the field he was in “neglect of duty when in charge of working party” and was also “smoking on parade”. He was severely reprimanded by the GOC, but luckily suffered no further punishment and did not forfeit any pay.

Later that same year, from the 26th September 1917 to 7th October 1917, Arthur received leave to UK, however, on his return to France he was wounded in action.

The 35th Division was in action during the fighting in Houthulst Forest, part of the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele). The War Diary of the 20th (Service) Battalion (4th Salford) Lancashire Fusiliers records:

22 October 1917 – Boesinghe
The attack was launched at 5.35am by the other three Battalions of the Brigade. At this time the Battalion was in Brigade Reserve, disposed as follows:- Battalion Headquarters were at PASCAL FARM. “W” and “Y” Companies were in shell holes on the line PASCAL FARM – VEE BEND, and “X” and “Z” Companies were in the rear of that line. At 8.38am orders were received from the G.O.C. 104th Infantry Brigade to send two companies to the line ADEN HOUSE – LES CINQ CHEMINS, with a view to reinforcing the 23rd Manchesters and gaining touch with the troops on the right and left. The telegram containing the order also gave information that the 23rd Manchesters were believed to be back in our original line. “W” and “Z” Companies were ordered to move up under the command of Captain WA Swarbrick, who was instructed to report to OC 23rd Manchesters at EGYPT HOUSE. Captain Swarbrick reached EGYPT HOUSE at 10.15am and received the following information from OC 23rd Manchesters: (1). The 23rd Manchesters, having suffered severe casualties had withdrawn from original line. (2). Nothing was known of the 101st Brigade on the right. (3). The 18th Lancashire Fusiliers had advanced but the position on their right flank was unknown. (4). The 17th Lancashire Fusiliers had reached their final objective. The two companies then took up a position organised in depth on the line U.6.d.9.8 to V.1.c.5.4. This movement was carried out under heavy hostile fire. Officer’s patrols were sent out to gain touch with the enemy and the flank Battalions. The enemy were holding the HUTS (V.1.a) and were seen in small parties in V.1.a, V.1.b and V.2.a. They fired on our parties. No touch could be obtained with the 18th Lancashire Fusiliers on the left, but at 12.15pm touch was gained with the right of the 17th Lancashire Fusiliers at about U.6.b.9.6. At 1.00pm an Officer’s patrol could only find five wounded men of the left Battalion of the 101st Brigade. At 9.00 am “X” Company had been ordered to occupy the position vacated by “W” Company on the PASCAL FARM – VEE BEND line. At 10.30am the Brigade ordered the remainder of the Battalion to occupy the line ADEN HOUSE – LES CINQ CHEMINS with a view to forming a defensive flank on the right. The Commanding Officer immediately proceeded to EGYPT HOUSE and “X” and “Y” Companies were ordered to move to a position immediately behind EGYPT HOUSE, where the Commanding Officer issued definite orders when the situation was clearly ascertained. At about 2.00pm the GOCs order, giving the line to be consolidated and held, was received. “Y” Company then took up the following position:- One Platoon and two Sections echeloned behind “Z” Company with their right just in front of ADEN HOUSE, two Sections with two Lewis Guns south of the TURENNE CROSSING – LES CINQ CHEMINS Road, to protect the right flank. “X” Company were held in reserve about ANGLE POINT. A very heavy barrage delayed “X” Company, who finally took up their position about 5.45pm. Patrols from “Y” Company failed to get in touch that night with the 11th Suffolks, who according to information received had occupied the line from COLIBRI FARM to ADEN HOUSE. Touch was gained about 12 noon next day at about V.1.c.95.40. For the place names and map coordinates see cutting of HOUTHULST FORSEST map attached.

Casualties for the operation: Officers, one killed and five wounded; Ordinary Ranks, 27 killed, 168 wounded and 12 missing.

Arthur was wounded in action on this day, being buried by a shell. He was admitted to 106th Field Ambulance (part of 35th Division from November 1915 to November 1918). On the 23rd October he was moved to No.4 Casualty Clearing Station, which was based at Lozinghem, Belgium from June 1917 to March 1918. He finally returned to his unit on the 16th November 1917.

On the 6th February 1918 Arthur was posted to the 17th (Service) Battalion (1st South East Lancashire) Lancashire Fusiliers (in 104th Brigade, 35th Division) as the 20th Lancashire Fusiliers disbanded, finally joining them on the 20th March 1918.

The 17th Battalion was formed in Bury on the 3rd December 1914 by Lieutenant Colonel G. E. Wike and a Committee, as a Bantam Battalion. It moved to Chadderton (Oldham) on the 16th March 1915 and in June 1915 went to Masham. On the 21st June 1915 it was attached to 104th Brigade in 35th Division. It was formally adopted by the War Office on the 27th August 1915 and moved to Cholderton, Wiltshire in August 1915. It landed at Le Havre on the 29th January 1916 and ceased to be a Bantam Battalion in early 1917.

On the 26th June 1918 Arthur was promoted to Corporal, however, just a month later on the 30th August, he was in trouble for a second time. This time he was charged that on 28th August 1918 when on “Active Service” that he was “drunk in town”, the town being “Boulogne”. Once again he was severely reprimanded by GOC, but again escaped further punishment.

It is testament to Arthur that he immediately bounced back from this misconduct and in October 1918, he was awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field.

The 35th Division was heavily engaged in the Final Advance in Flanders (28th September to 11th November 1918), and took part in three major actions during October 1918.

The War Diary for the 17th (Service) Battalion (1st South East Lancashire) Lancashire Fusiliers records the following:

The Battle of Ypres (28th September to 2nd October 1918)

2 October 1918 - West of WERVICQ – AMERICA CABt
At 07.00h “X” Company attacked the ridge in Q20a. (REEKE) but made no progress owing to extremely heavy machine gun fire. Casualties Lieutenant W BROOKES, “X” Company – wounded in action. Other Ranks – 3 killed in action, 17 wounded in action. “W” Company endeavoured on the left to outflank the ridge but without success. During the evening the battalion was relieved by the SCOTTISH RIFLES, 34 Division. Relief completed 23.45h. Battalion moved back to shelters in J35 near KRUISEECKE crossroads.

The Battle of Courtrai (14th to 19th October 1918)

14 October 1918 – Front Line
04.30hrs Enemy put down heavy counter preparation until 05.00hrs. Casualties slight. 05.35hrs Battalion attached under cover of barrage. “Y” Company on right, “W” on left, “Z” right support, “X” left support. Battalion HQ moved in front of rear waves. 105 Infantry Brigade attacked on right, 36 Ulster Division on left. Starting line K.24.a and b. Considerable short shooting from our guns was experience. Enemy opposition was the more easily overcome because of the dence mist that prevailed. Numerous machine gun nests and infantry posts were encountered and put out of action. Secnd Lieutenants F ASPDEN, AC STEPHENSON, H DRUMMOND and Captain CS DRUMMON, MC, distinguished themselves in overrunning hostile resistence. The line of ROULERS – MENIN railway – first pause – was reached to time. Final objective (L.27.b.2.8) was captured at 07.05 hours and position was consolidated. 18 Lancashire Fusiliers and 19 Durham Light Infantry attacked through the Battalion at 07.10 hours.

Captures:- 100 prisoners, 6 field guns, 2 trench morters and 16 Machine guns.
Casualties:- Officers, two killed in action, one died of wounds. Ordinary ranks, 18 killed, 102 wounded and 7missing.

The action of Tieghem (31st October 1918)

31 October 1918 – AVELGHEM
05.25h. Battalion attacked north-east along L’ESCAUT, 19 Durham Light Infantry on right, 18th Lancashire Fusiliers on left, “Z” Company on right, “W” Company on left, “Y” Company left support, “X” Company left support – under cover of barrage. A large amount of some was put down by our guns on Eastern bank f L’ESCAUT to hinder enemy observations from MONT DE L’ENCLUS. Starting point – line of road in 29/P29a. Considerable machine gun and artillery fire encountered. Machine gun posts mopped up and put out of action by successful flanking fire from Lewis Guns and line of first objective – WAERMAERE – TIEGHEM Road reached to time:- 06.46h. Patrols pushed out with sweep of barrage and formed line in front. 08.49h. Attack resumed – “Y” Company on right, “X” Company on left, behind barrage. Machine gun opposition again encountered and again successfully overcome. Enemy used tracer ammunition which gave the position of his guns away. Final objective – KERKHOVE – VARENT, Q15 and 9 taken by 09.55h. Battalion redistributed as follows: “X” Company – VARENT, “Y” Company – VOSSENHOEK, “Z” and “W” Companies behind VOSSENHOEK, in depth. 14.30h. Patrols of “X” Company reached EEDWHOEK near MEERSCHE and established themselves there.
Captives:- 150 prisoners, 30 machine guns, 1 T.M. and two motor ambulances. The casualties to the enemy were extremely heavy. Numerous ?? were liberated.
Casualties:- Second Lieutenants H.R.E. IRVING and H. DRUMMOND – killed in action; Captain R.C.R. ROBINSON, Lieutenant C.G. PEET and Second Lieutenants C.S. DICKINSON, H. COOK and J. HALSTEAD - wounded in action.
Other ranks: 8 killed in action, 63 wounded, 13 missing.
Honours granted by the Battalion during the period 1 to 31 October 1918:
1 DSO, 2 MCs, 1 DCM, 1 Bar to MM and 12 MMs (including 35889 Cpl A. Fielding)

Following the award of his military medal, Arthur was granted his second period of leave to the UK, from the 17th November to 1st December 1918. He returned to France until the 16th January 1919 when he moved back to the UK for demobilization. His address was given as 42 Longridge Street, Longsight, Manchester.

His British War and Victory Medals were issued from Preston Medal Office in January 1922.