Lieutenant Arthur Temple Railton

Biography of Lieutenant Arthur Temple Railton

Arthur Temple Railton was born at 24 Laurel Bank, Withington, Lancashire on 29th November 1890, the first son of Joseph Arthur (Shipping Merchant) and Alice Temple Railton, later of "Woodburn," Lightwood Road, Buxton, Derbyshire.

The 1901 Census (RG 13/3670) shows the family living at 12 Morfield Road, Didsbury. Arthur had a younger brother, Oliver Campbell, and a younger sister, Dorothy T. The family were still at the same address in 1911 (RG 14/23665) but Arthur was by then attending the University of Glasgow, where he gained a BSc in Engineering Science (Naval Architecture). Before attending Glasgow Arthur had been at Denstone College and Oundle School. Whilst at Glasgow Arthur served 5 years in the University of Glasgow OTC.

Arthur volunteered at the outbreak of the War and on 2nd September 1914 received a Commission as 2nd Lieutenant in the 4th Battalion, The Seaforth Highlanders (London Gazette, 1st September 1914). His Medal Index Card indicates that Arthur entered France with his Battalion on 7th November 1914 and he served with the Meerhut Division and then the Lahore Indian Division. Just before embarkation - on 1st November 1914 - he was promoted to Temporary Lieutenant, though not gazetted until 6 months later - the day before he died. (London Gazette 7th May 1915).

He served with the Lahore Division during the Battles of Neuve Chappelle and Aubers Ridge, on 9th May 1915, where he was wounded. A few hours later, whilst lying helpless on the battlefield, he was killed by a shell, a few yards from the German trenches. Arthur was 24. He is buried at Cabaret Rouge Cemetery between two of his fellow Officers, Captain MA FitzRoy and Lieutenant GW Daman. In April 2015 Mr. ARB Hope, the son of Railton's fellow junior officer AHC Hope, placed memorial plaques alongside the regimental gravestones of the three comrades-in-arms.

Railton's Commanding Officer wrote: "He was as brave and gallant as anyone who has ever worn a uniform and simply did not know what fear was. Had he been spared he would have gone very far in his profession as a soldier. He fell, as I am sure he wished, at the head of his men, who may and probably did equal him in bravery and gallantry, but could not possibly surpass him in either."

AHC Hope, who survived the war, kept a diary. He reports Railton's death near Aubers as follows: "The 1st Seaforths actually reached the enemy's trenches, but they were forced to fall back. .... As for our officers, Railton and Macdonald were pretty badly wounded at the verey start. .... Railton was missed by the stretcher bearers somehow, and a couple of days later a small party went up to look for him, and they found him dead, killed by shrapnel."

Shortly before he died he was home on leave in Buxton and the Buxton Advertiser of 22nd May 1915 relates that he visited The Hippodrome and "... the earnest appeal he made from the footlights for more men to come forward will not soon be forgotten. That he was every inch a soldier and as patriotic a young man as ever went into action, is the opinion of everyone who knew him".

Summary

Lieutenant Arthur Temple Railton
Rank: Lieutenant
Regiment: 4th Bn. Seaforth Highlanders
Degree: BSc
Awards: N/A
Comments: Killed in action, 9 May 1915
Note/Press Clipping: Ch 4/4/2/3/341
Photo ID: N/A

Sources

University of Glasgow Registry, Faculty and General Council Records

Biography: Information contributed by Graham Conway, April 2011, and ARB Hope, April 2015

Photograph: Image supplied by and reproduced by kind permission of Graham Conway.

Burial Place: Commonwealth War Graves Commission - Debt of Honour Register

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