Lieutenant Arthur Procter of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, was killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme on 1st July 1916. Baptised on 24 September 1887 at St Martin’s, he was the second son of William Procter, a tailor and his wife Sarah Smith. He was educated at King Edward VI Camp Hill. By 1911 the family had moved to Moseley, living at 91 Trafalgar Road. By this date Arthur was a shop assistant in a Drapers but like his father, who had served with the old Warwickshire Volunteers, he joined the Territorial Force and had risen to the rank of Quarter Master Sergeant prior to the outbreak of war. He received his commission shortly before the 1st/8th Battalion embarked for France in March 1915. In May 1916 he was awarded the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry in leading a successful raid on enemy trenches during which he cut the wires and then ran along the trench parapet bombing as he went.
On the opening day of the Somme offensive the 1st/8th Battalion was engaged along the Redan Ridge between the hamlets of Serre and Beaumont Hamel. Arthur was one of approximately 600 men of the Battalion to lose their lives that day. Only 45 remained to be counted at roll call the following day. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme which bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men.
This was not the only tragedy to befall the Procter family. Arthur’s brother Frank Goodheart Procter, who served with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment before being transferred to the 4th Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment, died from wounds on 2nd November 1917 and is buried in Etaples Cemetery. Both of these brothers are commemorated on the War Memorial of St Mary’s Parish Church, Moseley.
Their eldest brother, William Thomas Procter, initially joined the Royal Navy and was later transferred to the Royal Naval Air Service. He was the only one of the three to survive.
Research carried out as part of my contribution to the Moseley WWI Research Group.