Arthur Few (1877–1924)


Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment) 3922 1st& 3rd Battalions
Labour Corps 375904 759 Area Employment Corps
Royal Engineers 605890  

Derbyshire Times & Chesterfield Herald, 30 August 1924

Arthur Few in WW1

Biography [Simon Johnson]
Arthur Few was born at Devizes in Wiltshire in 1877. He was the second of the eleven children of George Few (a blacksmith) and Mary Bailey.

No trace of Arthur has been located in census returns for 1901, and he is not to be confused with another Devizes-born Arthur Edward Few, who served with the Royal Horse Guards regiment of the Household Cavalry from 1900 to 1912. By 1911 it is known that Arthur and his brother Herbert Few were living in the town of Aberdare in South Wales. Herbert was married, whilst Arthur was in lodgings and was working as a haulier in a coal mine. Also by 1911, Arthur’s older sister Annie Kate Keene had moved to the outskirts of the parish of Crich and was living at Canal Side at Ambergate with her husband and two daughters. At the time of joining the army in 1914, Arthur was employed at the wire works of Richard Johnson and Nephew Ltd at Ambergate, so possibly he was living with his sister at Ambergate.

Arthur’s service records have not survived, though references to his service with the Sherwood Foresters, (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment) survive in the archives of the WFR Museum (Sherwood Foresters Collection). At the time of joining up, Arthur was attached to the 1/5th Battalion of the Territorial Force. The index card produced to show Arthur’s medal entitlement shows that he entered France with the Sherwoods in December 1914. During his service with the Sherwoods he spent time with both the 1st and the 3rd Battalions and latterly held the rank of Acting Sergeant. He is known to have been wounded in action in July 1915. In September 1917 Arthur was transferred to the 759th Area Employment Corps (Labour Corps) and held the rank of Sergeant. He was latterly transferred to the Royal Engineers. Arthur was awarded the Victory Medal, British War Medal, and the 1915 Star.

After being discharged from the army, Arthur appears to have lived with his sister and her family at Canal Side at Ambergate and was employed as a general labourer, perhaps returning to his employment at the wire works. He was unmarried and had no children.

Arthur Few passed away at Ambergate on 22 August 1924, aged forty-seven years.

Newspaper reports

Derby and Chesterfield Recorder, 23 July 1915 shows him on a casualty list– wounded.

Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald 30 August 1924
There died on Friday last at the residence of his sister and a husband – Mr and Mrs Ernest Keane, Chase Cottages, Ambergate, Mr Arthur Few, who was a native of Devizes, Wiltshire and who had a unique record in the service of his King and country. He first joined up in the year 1897 with the second Battalion Rifle Brigade, with which Service he went through the Egyptian war, 1898, and was with General Kitchener at the relief of Khartoum, 1898. From Egypt he was with the Colours at the rebellion in the island of Crete, 1898, and from thence he was sent to South Africa and took part in the Boer War from 1899 to 1902. Altogether he served in the army at this time for seven years, most of the time fighting, and five years on reserve.
In 1912 he came to Ambergate finding employment with the Messrs Richard Johnson and Nephew, Limited. When the Great War began he joined up immediately, for on August 12, 1914, he enlisted with the Notts and Derbys (Sherwood Foresters) and was in France by November 14, 1914, and remained with that regiment until the finish, when he was demobilised with the rank of Sergeant. His restless spirit for army life did not end here, for he rejoined in the Royal Engineers and assisted in the general clearing up in France for further year-and-a-half. He held the following medals and decorations: – Sudan 1898, Khartoum 1898, South Africa with four bars Queen Victoria 1899 – 1902, South Africa with two bars King Edward 1901 – 1902, Great War Mons star 1914 – 1915, Great War Service 1914 – 1918, Great War Victory 1914 – 1919. Deceased was only 47 years of age. He had been ailing for several months but he only ceased work about six weeks ago.

Medal Roll Index Card
Arthur was awarded the Victory, British War and 15 Star Medals.
He entered France 11 December 1914.
With the Notts & Derby Regiment he was Acting Sergeant then with the Labour Corps he was a Sergeant.

Sherwood Foresters Record
Shown in 1st Battalion Roll book 1914-18
Embarked with Battalion on 17.12.14 and served with "A" company Entry in roll reads W.18.6.15 E.29.6.15

Shown in book "Digest of Service" 3rd Battalion 1914-18 (covers mid 1915 to mid 1916) in Regimental Archives as:-
Engagement was for S.R. - Served with K. Company
Posted to 1st Battalion 14.12.1915
Transferred to 759 Area Employment Corps (Labour Corps) 29.9.17

Johnson & Nephew Roll of Honour
Arthur is recorded on the works' Roll of Honour.


1881: Devizes

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
George Few Head 32 Blacksmith Tinhead
Mary Few wife 29    
Arthur Few son 3   Devizes
Herbert Few son 2   Devizes
Fanny A Few daughter 6 mo   Devizes

RG11 piece 2039 folio 100 page15

1891: Devizes

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
George Few Head 46 Blacksmith at foundrey Westbury
Mary Few wife 39   Westbury
Annie Kate Few daughter 15 Domestic servant Devizes
Arthur Few son 13 Scholar Devizes
Herbert Few son 12 Scholar Devizes
Fanny Few daughter 10 Scholar Devizes
Florence Few daughter 8 Scholar Devizes
Rosa Few daughter 6 Scholar Devizes
Harriett Few daughter 4   Westbury
William Few son 2   Westbury

RG12 piece 1599 folio155 page16

1911: Aberdare

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
Arthur Few lodger 33 Collier hullier above ground Devizes

RG14PN32496 RG78PN1857 RD590 SD4 ED17 SN97