Arthur James Chisnall

Rank: Private (Trooper in the Yeomanry)

Service Number: 320143

Date of Birth: 1895

Regiment:  15Bn Suffolk Regiment

Date of Death: 6 Nov 1917

Age at death: 22

Cemetery / Memorial: Beersheba War Cemetery

Country: Isreal & Palestine

Grave / Reference: M.69

Relatives: Son of William Frederick and Alice Susannah Chisnall

Address: 26 Benton Street, Hadleigh

Arthur James Chisnall was born in Hadleigh in 1895 and lived most of his life in Benton Street.  The 1911 census  show Arthur age 17, employed as a baker and living at 26 Benton Street with his parents William and Alice and siblings; William (22), Douglas (18), Gladys (13), Lancelot (5) and a boarder Violet Green (5).  

1911 census.jpg
Private Arthur James Chisnall

Private Arthur James Chisnall

At the outbreak of war Arthur enlisted into the Suffolk Yeomanry at Woodbridge in October 1914.  He went with the Battalion to Gallipoli, arriving on 8 October 1915 part way through the Campaign.  Gallipoli was a challenging and harsh environment for these relatively inexperienced soldiers who had to contend with disease as well as a formidable foe.

We know that one of Arthur's comrades, Frederick Mowles died at the end of October of disease and on 11 November 1915 was admitted to hospital in Mudros on the Greek island of Lemnos suffering from sun stroke.  In January 1916 he was back in England and was in hospital in Birmingham.  He was released home but while visiting his sister in Ipswich in February he suffered a relapse of dysentery and was removed to the isolation hospital in Foxhall Road.

We are not sure how or when Arthur returned to his unit, but we know that by June 1917 he was in Palestine with 15th Suffolks and training for the attack at Gaza.  By early November 1917 the 15th Suffolks had made progress and were some way to the east around Sheria, north of Beersheba which had been taken on 31 October 1917.  On 6 November the 15th Suffolks were ordered to clear a strip of country containing various detached Turkish posts.  Private Arthur James Chisnall, known as Jack, from Hadleigh was batman to Second Lieutenant William Anthony Wood and he went into action as his officer’s runner.  A runner, runs messages from his officer back to head quarters and back again and while this may seem like a simple task, navigating the battlefield under fire was deadly.  Many runners fell before reaching their destination.  At sunrise they came up against an advanced Turkish position and it was in preparing to rush this that both were killed.  Jack was aged 22.  The post was later taken by the rest of “B” company and two days later the enemy were in retreat all along the line.   

Obituary from 2 January 1918 edition of the Suffolk Free Press

Obituary from 2 January 1918 edition of the Suffolk Free Press

He is buried along with others who were killed that day in Beersheba War Cemetery.  For the rest of November the fighting in Palestine revolved around contests for hills, villages and observation points in conditions where there was a major shortage of drinking water and where the weather turned cold with heavy rain.   The strategic objective was Jerusalem, but the commanders had no wish to besiege the city, nor fight anywhere near it, since it was a holy city for Muslims, Jews and Christians.  Jerusalem would have to be taken by surrender or retreat.

Arthur James Chisnall is also remembered on the Hadleigh War Memorial.  In 2002 a new housing estate was built in Hadleigh.  A number of the houses on the estate were allocated as military quarters for service personnel serving in the area.  During the planning phase for this development it was decided that since the estate would have a military connection, that the street names would be named after local military heroes and given that there were three Chisnalls listed on the war memorial it was decided to name one of the streets Chisnall Close.


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We hope that this page has been able to tell the story of Arthur James Chisnall.  If you know of any information which might help to add to the story then please get in touch.