CWG: Serjeant Arthur Heard

Serjeant Arthur Heard

Arthur Reginald Heard was born in 1887, the youngest son to Herbert and Emily. Herbert was a local surveyor and land agent, and the family lived in the middle of Shepton Mallet in Somerset, two doors up from the town’s Baptist Church and within sight of the Magistrate’s Court.

In 1908, aged 21, Arthur made the journey across the Atlantic to Argentina, settling in Buenos Aires and working for the Pacific Railway Company. When war broke out, however, he immediately returned to England, when he enlisted in the army, and was assigned to the Royal Engineers.

Sapper Heard was shipped out to France and was quickly promoted, first to Corporal, then to Serjeant. In November 1917, Arthur was caught up in a shell impact on the front, and was buried. He was quickly dug out, and not severely hurt.

On 25th March 1918, Serjeant Heard was due to return home on leave, but was taken ill. Back in England, he was hospitalised in Birmingham, where meningitis was confirmed. He seemed to recover – even going out for tea with his sister-in-law when she visited him – and was transferred to recuperate in Saltash, Cornwall.

Within days of arriving, he collapsed with a fit, and passed away within half an hour. Subsequent examination confirmed that Arthur had died from a brain tumour. He was just 30 years old.

Arthur Reginald Heard lies at rest in the cemetery of his home town, Shepton Mallet.

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