CWG: Painter 2nd Class Arthur Voice

Painter 2nd Class Arthur Voice

Arthur Edward Voice was born on 14th August 1895, the youngest of five children to Albert and Jane. Albert was a painter from Sussex, who had set up home in Horley, Surrey, and this is where Arthur and his siblings were born.

When he left school, Arthur followed in his father’s footsteps, becoming a painter and decorator. This was something he continued doing through to the outbreak of war. He was called up to the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve in February 1916, but was initially excused from duty.

On 1st February 1916, he married Winifred Leppard, from Redhill in Surrey; the couple went on to have a son, Raymond, that September.

Arthur was called up again on 5th December, this time as a Painter 2nd Class in the Royal Navy. His service records show that he was 5ft 5ins (1.65m) tall, had fair hair, grey eyes and a fresh complexion.

Painter Voice was stationed at HMS Pembroke – the Royal Naval Dockyard in Chatham, Kent – and his services seem to have been put to use on shore, rather than at sea.

HMS Pembroke was a generally bustling place, but by the summer of 1917, it had exceeded capacity to the point where temporary accommodation was set up. Arthur found himself billeted at The Drill Hall, away from the main barracks.

On the night of 3rd September 1917, Chatham suddenly found itself in the firing line, as the German Air Force launched a bombing raid. One of the bombs landed squarely on the Drill Hall, and Painter Voice was killed instantly. He was just 22 years old.

Ninety-eight servicemen perished during the Chatham Air Raid that night. They were buried in a mass funeral at the Woodlands Cemetery in nearby Gillingham. This, too, is where Arthur Edward Voice was laid to rest.

Painter 2nd Class Arthur Voice

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