Biddulph & District Genealogy & Historical Society Biddulph Grange

Biddulph and the Great War

'There Shall Be In That Rich Earth A Richer Dust Concealed'

'We Will Remember Them'

E.R.A. Arthur Bateman Cheetham

M/1219 Engine Room Artificer 2nd Class lost at sea January 19th 1917 Age 31


Arthur was the son of Joseph and Elizabeth Cheetham nee Bateman. He was born on July 7th 1885 in Biddulph. His parents had married at St. Lawrence Biddulph in 1884. Arthur was baptised here on July 20th 1885. Although Joseph was from Bradley Green, Elizabeth had been born in Langley, Cheshire, possibly at the Dunstan Inn in Sutton, as her father was Edward Bateman, a victualler. Edward later became innkeeper at The Talbot Inn in Biddulph.

In 1891 Joseph was described as a hotel keeper in Church Street, Chesterton, possibly the Black Lion. Arthur is five and a scholar with brother Joseph, four.

By 1901 the family were still living in Chesterton on Church Street but are now next door to the Black Lion. His father was now 40 and a draper. His mother is also aged 40. Arthur is the eldest child and is now employed at a foundry as a fitter with his birthplace given as Bradley Green. He has two younger brothers, Joseph Edward and Thomas William.

On September 7th 1909 he joined the Navy for 12 years. The initial form includes a brief physical description as follows: His height was 5ft 5in. Chest size 36in. Hair Dark Brown. Eyes Dark Grey. Complexion Dark. He had blue marks near right eye, scars on left knee, near right ankle and top of head.

On the 1911 census Arthur is in China and the East Indies: Arthur B. Cheetham age 25. Single. Engine Room Artificer. Birthplace Congleton Stafford.

After his training, Arthur served in an E class submarine HMS/ME 33 with the rank of Engine Room Artificer 2nd Class.

From his naval records he served on:

His character throughout was given as VG : Very Good.

On January 19th 1917 his submarine, along with another similar vessel HMS/E 43, left Harwich harbour for patrols in the North Sea. On a rough sea at about 7.00pm the E 43 was in collision with Arthur’s vessel causing it to sink. The E 36 sank with all hands including Arthur Bateman Cheetham. Its exact location remains a mystery. There were no survivors and his body was not recovered for burial.

The War Graves Roll for the Royal Navy and Royal Marine states that Arthur was killed or died by means other than disease, accident or enemy action.

Arthur was aged 31 and had served for over 8 years. His father died in the following year aged 57.

The Staffordshire Weekly Sentinel of April 28th 1917 reported on his death: “Engine room Artificer Arthur Bateman Cheetham, son of Mr. and Mrs. J.E..Cheetham, 29, Clive Street, Shelton, lost his life while on duty in one of his Majesty’s ships on war service. He was 31 years of age. A memorial service was held on Sunday week at Shelton church where there was a large gathering of relatives and friends and an appropriate service was delivered by the Rector, the Rev. P. Gordon.

Arthur had spent his early life at Chesterton, was educated at the National School and Secondary School, Hanley. He served time in engineering with the Apedale Coal and Iron Company and was a favourite with his fellow workers.

He joined the Royal Navy...... He served on a number of ships, and in the last two years was a considerable time on the ‘Iron Duke’..... He was a most enthusiastic sportsman and about ten years ago was one of the most ardent members of the Newcastle Cycling Club.”

His name is recorded on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial and he is remembered on the family gravestone in St. Lawrence churchyard and also on the memorial in Albert Square, Biddulph.

Mike Turnock & Kath Walton.

A list of all the medals awarded to the men of the Biddulph area has been compiled and can be viewed here.


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