Fallen soldier finally has grave tribute after 100 years

Youngsters lay a wreath in Sunderland colours at the grace of Arthur Bainbridge.
Youngsters lay a wreath in Sunderland colours at the grace of Arthur Bainbridge.
0
Have your say

A WEARSIDE war hero has finally had a wreath placed on his grave almost 100 years after he died.

When art teacher Eileen Pearson heard a group of students at Poltair School in Cornwall, where she works, were heading to the battlefields of the First World War, she asked if they could visit her great-great uncle’s grave.

Ethal May Parsons, sister of Arthur Bainbridge, with her husband, William, on their wedding day.

Ethal May Parsons, sister of Arthur Bainbridge, with her husband, William, on their wedding day.

Born in Sunderland, Arthur was the son of Thomas and Emma Bainbridge, who lived in Tempest Street, New Silksworth.

He worked as a putter in the mines before enlisting into The 3rd Northumbrian Brigade Royal Field Artillery before the outbreak of war.

In June 1915, Bombardier Bainbridge was deployed into Sanctuary Wood, then moved to the Kemmel area and a month after that to Pont de Nieppe.

In December 1915, he returned to the Ypres Salient and was killed at the beginning of January 1916 at the age of just 22.

Eileen knew Arthur was buried at the Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery in Belgium and when trip organiser, history teacher Lisa Venn, said the group of pupils would be visiting it, she asked if they would lay a wreath for Arthur.

She said: “I thought it would be really nice to have a wreath laid there on behalf of the family.

“I don’t know if he liked football, but just in case I had it made up in the red and white of Sunderland colours.”

Arthur must have been devoted to his family, because in May 1916, four months after his death, his sister, Ethel May, received a silver crucifix necklace, organised by him to be sent to her on her 21st birthday.

Ethal May went on to marry William Parsons and the silver necklace has now been passed down to Eileen, her great-granddaughter.

Eileen said: “The necklace must have been very precious to my nan and is very special to me too.”

Unfortunately, neither Eileen nor her dad, John Parsons, have been able to locate a photograph of Arthur, but as he was one of eight brothers and sisters they believe a relative somewhere might have one they could copy.

John, who lives in the Hartlepool area, has been tracing his family tree and would like to hear from long-lost relatives in Sunderland.

He can be contacted on 07718 760 186 or 01429 277 489.

Twitter: @SunEchoSchools