Arthur Tuley

– the story behind the picture

PC Arthur Tuley

Arthur Tuley was born in 1888 at Thornthwaite, Yorkshire to John and Annie (Morley) Tuley, and was one of eight children.

He was appointed to the North Eastern Railway Police in 1914, as a constable stationed at Middlesbrough. In December 1915 he enlisted in the Seaforth Highlanders with the service number S/12049, and was posted to the 6th Battalion.

On 20th November 1917, the 6th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders was part of the 152nd Brigade, 51st Highland Division of the 3rd Army and was engaged in the Battle of Cambrai attacking the area of Cantaing and Flesquieres. After the first days success the second days attack was carried out without tank support and resulted in heavy losses. After several more unsuccessful attacks the Division was pulled out of the front line.

In December, the Division returned to the front line as reinforcements in case of a German Offensive. On 21st March 1918 the Germans launched their final major offensive of the war. The Division was in the Flesquieres area and was under attack from two sides as well as very heavy poison gas assaults.

The Division made a fighting withdrawal and were involved in a number of crucial rear-guard actions that cost a total of 4,900 lives. Arthur Tuley was one of those lives lost on the 23rd March 1918.

Arthur Tuley has no known grave and is commemorated on panel 8 of the Arras Memorial in the Pas-de-Calais. He is also commemorated on the Roll of Honour of the British Transport Police History Group website.

 

As a footnote, a letter was sent to one of Arthur’s sisters from his company commander (a Lieutenant) that said in part:
‘He was our Lewis gunner, and in the action in which he met his death, displayed the greatest bravery, firing his gun with the utmost deliberation and coolness until the last, finally being killed standing at his post and facing the enemy’.

 

Compiled by Ray Ricketts, from research with Steve Beamon
Photograph courtesy of Ray Ricketts

 

See also:

BTPHG First World War – Roll of Honour

NERP Photo Gallery