CWG: Lieutenant Arthur Tett

Lieutenant Arthur Tett

Arthur Hopkins Tett was born on 22nd August 1881 in Bedford Mills, Ontario, Canada. He was one of six children to lumberjack John Tett and his wife, Harriet. Both sets of Arthur’s grandparents had moved to Canada in the 1830s – John’s from Somerset, Harriet’s from Ireland – and his paternal grandfather had gone on to represent the county of Leeds in Ontario’s first parliament.

Arthur wanted to see the world, and viewed the army a a way to do that. After leaving school, he attended the Royal Military College, and was subsequently appointed a Signaller in the 3rd Canadian Mounted Rifles. He spent time in South Africa and, on returning to his home country, he took work as a bank clerk with the Union Bank, where he worked his way up to Head Office in Winnipeg..

He soon sought another challenge, and set up business in Outlook, Saskatchewan. In January 1913, Arthur married Bessie Kearns, an artist from back in Westport, Ontario. The couple settled in a detached property on Bagot Street, Kingston, Ontario and went on to have a son, John, who was born in 1917.

Arthur was still active in military circles at this point, playing a part in the local 14th Regiment. When war was declared, he again stepped forward to play his part, taking up a role of Lieutenant in the 253rd Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force: this was a regiment made up mainly of students from the Kingston area, and it is likely that Arthur’s expertise would have been welcomed.

Having initially enlisted on 1st November 1916, Lieutenant Tett was declared fit a few months later and sent to Europe in May 1917. Based in Somerset, Arthur was not far from where his paternal grandparents had come from, nor where his cousins still lived. Sadly, however, his time in England was not to be a long one.

Lieutenant Tett was admitted to the Military Hospital attached to Taunton Barracks, suffering from pneumococcal meningitis. Sadly, this was to get the better of him, and he passed away on 26th August 1917, days after his 36th birthday.

Arthur Hopkins Tett was brought to the village of Kingstone in Somerset for burial. He was laid to rest in the graveyard of his second cousin George’s local church, St John and All Saints.


Bessie Tett did not marry again after her husband’s passing. She remained in Ontario for the rest of her life, passing away in October 1974, at the age of 89.

Arthur and Bessie’s son, John, was a babe in arms when his father died. He also remained in Ontario for much of his life, although he served in Europe during the Second World War. He married Sylvia Bird in September 1941; the couple went on to have two children. They returned to Canada when the war was over, and remained in Ontario until August 1974, when he passed away.


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