PRIVATE ARNOLD STATHAM
20TH NOVEMBER 1917 AGE 19
BURIED: ORIVAL WOOD CEMETERY, FLESQUIERES, FRANCE
Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal
Friday 14 December 1917
"Local cricketers will extend their sympathy to Mr and Mrs Statham, 90 Kedleston Rd, Derby, who have just received the sad news of the death of their son, Private Arnold Statham of the Seaforths. In a letter to the parents the chaplain states that he met his death on the 20th in the fighting before Cambrai. Joining the army soon after leaving school, he was drafted to France about March 1916, took part in the fighting in High Wood, and on the Somme. At the latter place he was wounded in the knee, and was brought over here, and sent to a hospital in Glasgow. Returning to Ripon, it was understood that he was not to be sent away until he was 19. However, at his own request, he returned to the fighting area two months before that time arrived, and met his death as stated. He lies in a corner of a foreign land which will be for ever England. His parents take this opportunity of thanking all those kind friends who have sympathised with them in their terrible loss."
Arnold Statham was born on 30 January 1899. He was therefore just 17 when he went to France 'about March 1916' and 18 and 10 months when he returned to the front two months before his nineteenth birthday. He must have been killed almost immediately in the 51st Highland Division's attack on Flesquieres.
On the second anniversary of his death, his family inserted the following announcement in the In Memorial column of the Derby Daily Telegraph:
Statham - To the Glory of God and in loving remembrance of our dear son and brother Pte Arnold Statham and his gallant comrades of the Seaforth Highlanders, who gave their lives for King and country Nov. 17 1917 at Cambrai. "Never shall their glory fade".
Statham's body was originally buried in the 51st Divisional Cemetery, but thirteen years later all the bodies here were exhumed and reburied in Orival Wood Military Cemetery. It was at this point that the families would have been asked to provide a personal inscription. Ten years after the In Memoriam announcement, it wasn't that the memory of their son had faded but Mr and Mrs Statham perhaps no longer associated his death with glory. 'School, war, death' is a bleak summary of a short life.