CWG: Private Arthur Srodzinski

Private Arthur Srodzinski

Arthur Reginald Srodzinski was born in Paignton, Devon, in October 1890. His great grandfather Stanislaus was born in Poland and emigrated to Devon in the early 1840s. He was an upholsterer, and this is a trade that his son Samuel, and his grandson – Arthur’s father – Henry also followed. Henry and his wife, Sarah, had five children, of which Arthur was the middle one; by the time of the 1901 census, Henry has moved the family to Newton Abbot.

Arthur wanted bigger and better things than upholstering, and sought out a career in the army. In March 1909, he enlisted in the Devonshire Regiment as a Private. His service records show that he was 5ft 5ins (1.69m) tall, and weighed in at 131lbs (59kg). He has hazel eyes, brown hair and a fresh complexion.

Private Srodzinski enlisted for a period of twelve years (seven on active duty), and after his initial training, he was sent overseas. Over the next few years, he was posted to Malta, Cyprus and Egypt but, when was came to Europe, he returned to England, before heading to the Western Front.

Arthur’s time in France was not to be a long one – at the end of December 1914, he was medically evacuated to England, suffering from a heart condition. This was to turn out to be a serious issue, and he was formally discharged from the army on medical grounds just four months later.

Back in Devon, Arthur found work as a butcher and, in the autumn of 1917, he married local carpenter’s daughter Carrie Larkworthy; the couple set up home in Newton Abbot.

In March 1918, Arthur was attending a meeting of discharged soldiers at the Commercial Hotel in Newton Abbot, when he collapsed. Medical treatment was sought, but it proved too late; he had died of a heart attack. Arthur was just 28 years of age.

Arthur Reginald Srodzinski was laid to rest in Newton Abbot Cemetery. Three months later, Carrie gave birth to their one and only child, who she named Reginald.

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