Arthur Charles Whiting 1885-1964?
Parents: Walter Whiting and Emily Jane Thake
Born: 29th May 1885 in Haverhill.(1,3)
Married: Emma May Mead, 29, spinster, hairweaver, of Sible Hedingham, daughter of Edward Mead, Maltsters Labourer, on 31st August 1912 in Haverhill.(2,3)
Died: 4th Quarter of 1964 on the Isle of Wight?(5)
Bio: Arthur was the second child of Walter Whiting and Emily Thake and was born on 29th May 1885 in Haverhill. On the 1891 census he is living at 14 Eden Road with his parents and siblings Kate and Minnie.
Ten years on, we have the family living at 12 Wratting Road at the time of the 1901 census. Here, Arthur is listed as a hair weaver along with his mother and sister Kate.
The next census in 1911 finds Arthur still living at 12 Wratting Road with his parents and younger sister Minnie, who is a cashier at Co-op society stores. Arthur is a haircloth finisher, most likely working at Gurteen's.
It was not long after this that Arthur was to marry Emma May Mead, who came from Sible Hedingham, and like Arthur was working in the textiles industry. It seems plausible that they would have met at work. Emma was the daughter of Edward Mead and Ellen Mason who married in Halstead in 1875.
When war came in 1914, Arthur would not have been amongst the initial influx of volunteers and recruits. Instead, when it became clear that it was developing into a stalemate and more troops were needed, at 30 Arthur would have become eligible for conscription under the Military Service Act.
His service records survive(3), and in them we get a description of him. He was 5ft 4 ½ inches with a chest measurement of 34 ½ inches, so a fairly slight build.
At the time of his attestation as Private no.31046 for the 3rd Battalion Suffolk Regiment on 29th November 1915 Arthur was living at 22 Wratting Road and was a horse-hair cloth finisher. According to his records, he had married Emma Mead on 31st August 1915, although the GRO registers show his marriage as being in 1912. Curiously, where the question 'Are you married?' had come up, Arthur had at first put 'No' before crossing this out and writing 'Yes'.
Arthur ended up being posted to the 2nd Garrison Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment at Felixstowe. This was a 'home service' battalion and did not see action overseas. On 20th July 1917 he was discharged as being 'no longer fit for service' as the 'Result of accident from years ago in civil life in Haverhill'. His date of birth is also given here. Charles received a silver war badge (no.124,594) and his cause of discharge here is described as 'internal derangement of both knees'.(6)
The next time we see Arthur and Emma is on the 1939 Register living at Swan Street, Halstead. Arthur is a farmers labourer, and his birth-date is given as 19th April 1885 which doesn't tally with the date given in his Army Service Records. However, we can be sure this is him because of his and his wife's initials and year of birth tally and the fact that his mother-in-law Ellen Mead is living with them along with his brother-in-law Herbert E Mead (8).
It seems unlikely that they ever had any children.
An Emma M Whiting of the correct age died in 1959 in the Sudbury district(4). As for Arthur, it seems possible that he was the Arthur C Whiting who died in 1964 on the Isle of Wight(5) as the age is spot-on. However, there is no explanation as to why he would have ended up there.
(1) Birth Register. 2nd Quarter 1885, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 586
(2) Marriage Register. 3rd Quarter 1912, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 1872
(3) Ancestry.com. British Army WWI Service Records, 1914-1920
(4) Death Register. 4th Quarter 1959, Sudbury District, Volume 4b Page 966
(5) Death Register. 4th Quarter 1964, Isle of Wight District, Volume 6b Page 876
(6) War Office and Air Ministry: Service Medal and Award Rolls, First World War. Silver War Badge. RG WO 329, 2958–3255. The National Archives
(7) Marriage Register. 4th Quarter 1875, Halstead District, Volume 4a Page 707
(8) 1939 Register, Ref: RG101/1575A/011/26 Letter Code: DDKJ, Findmypast.co.uk