Saturday, September 20, 2014

49845 Corporal Shoeing-Smith Arthur Langridge MSM, Royal Field Artillery

The Arthur Langridge mentioned in Chailey parish magazine was a Boer War veteran and Old Contemptible and is almost certainly the same boy who appears on the 1881 census living with his family at 2, New Cottages, Chailey.  The household comprised James Langridge (head, married, a 25 year old carpenter and game keeper), his wife Ellen Langridge (nee Wilson, aged 27) and their two sons, Herbert Langridges (aged two) and Arthur (aged one).  The boys and their father had all been born in Chailey; Ellen was born in Mayfield.

By the time the 1891 census was taken, the family was living at Roeheath Cottages, Chailey.  No additions to the family are noted but Arthur is not recorded.  Ten years later, the 1901 census has the family staying at 2, Roeheath Cottages, Chailey.  Herbert is recorded as a 23 year old plumber and painter but again, Arthur is missing and I have been unable to locate him on census returns.
On 29th April 1902, 22-year-old Arthur enlisted with the Royal Horse and Field Artillery at Lewes. His surviving papers in WO 97 note his place of birth as Chailey and his trade as a blacksmith. Arthur joined for one year (or for the duration if the war in South Africa was not over). Arthur joined his regiment at Woolwich on 2nd May 1902 and was given the regimental number 23542. He was subsequently appointed shoeing smith and served in South Africa before being discharged on the 2nd June 1903.
Arthur subsequently re-enlisted in 1908 and was working as a blacksmith (but on the Army Reserve) when Britain went to war in August 1914. The 1911 census shows him married to 31-year-old Mary Ann Langridge, the father of Esther Langridge (aged three) and Margaret Langridge (aged one). The family was living at Sunnydale, Plumpton, Sussex.
Arthur's medal index card shows that he was in France by October 1914 and he served throughout the war. At one point in 1915 he was a witness for the prosecution in a case brought by his regiment. A single page survives for him in WO 364 which I reproduce below.
Arthur first appears in the September 1915 issue of Chailey’s parish magazine as A Langridge.  In October 1915 he is reported as Langridge, Shoeing-smith A, RFA, France and the same source also notes his promotion to “corporal shoeing-smith” in October 1918.  This information is then repeated monthly up to and including the final published roll call in July 1919.

According to The Times, he was 49845 Sergeant A Langridge and his name appeared in the paper on Wednesday 19th June 1918 in connection with his award of the Meritorious Service Medal.  He is noted there as: 49845 Sgt A Langridge, RFA (Chailey, Lewes).
Arthur continued to serve with the Royal Artillery after the war ended and has service papers in the Royal Artillery collection recently published on Findmypast. Medal index cards courtesy of Ancestry. Service paper images are Crown Copyright The National Archives.

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