CWG: Private Arthur Rousell

Private Arthur Rousell

Arthur Edward Rousell was born in the summer of 1898, one of five children to Henry and Lucy Rousell. Henry was a police constable in Worle, near Weston-super-Mare, and this is where he initially raised his family. By the time of the 1911 census – when Arthur was a schoolboy of 12 years old – the family had moved to the village of Huish Episcopi, on the outskirts of Langport.

Details of Arthur’s military career are sketchy. Initially enlisting with the Royal Lancashire Regiment, he was soon transferred over to the 1st Battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment. He certainly saw action abroad, and was caught up on the Western Front.

Private Rousell was injured on 27th May 1918, this the first day of the Battle of Aisne. His battalion was certainly involved in the battle, but whether this was where he was injured, and what his injuries actually were, cannot be confirmed.

Evacuated back to England for treatment, Private Rousell was admitted to the South African Hospital in Richmond. Whether he was there for a long time, is not recorded, but he was certainly there in nine months after he was wounded.

It seems that his injuries left him susceptible; his pension record confirms that he died of sickness, and it seems likely that this was one of the lung conditions – pneumonia, influenza – that was prevalent following the cessation of hostilities.

Private Arthur Edward Rousell died on 22nd February 1919, at the age of 20 years old. His body was brought back to Huish Episcopi, and he lies at rest in the family grave in the graveyard of St Mary’s Church.

UPDATE : 19th April 2022

An article on Arthur’s passing sheds more light onto his life:

We regret to record the death of Pte. AE Rousell, of the 1st Lancs. Regt., eldest son of PC and Mrs HJ Rousell of Newtown, which occurred at Richmond Hospital on Saturday morning. Deceased, who was 20 years of age, had been seriously ill a week with influenza, death being due to septic pneumonia, which followed.

The late Pte. Rousell, was a member of the staff of “The Langport and Somerton Herald” where he served his apprenticeship, when war broke out, and joined up early in 1917, his regiment being the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. After a period of training he proceeded to the front and took part in several engagements. He was gassed, and in the winter of that year was invalided home with trench feet. On recovery he was transferred to the Lancs. Regt., and again proceeded to the front.

On May 27th last he was severely wounded in the right leg by shrapnel, the bones being badly splintered. He was sent to a military hospital in this country and had been in hospital ever since. He had made a fairly good recovery and his parents were expecting him home shortly, when on Thursday last week a wire was received, informing them of his serious illness. Mrs Rousell at once proceeded to Richmond and was able to see her son before he passed away.

Deep sympathy is extended to the relations in their sad bereavement.

Langport & Somerton Herald: Saturday 1st March 1919

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