Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1915, Private Arthur Joe Walcroft, 1st Battalion, the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, died while on active service in Mesopotamia.
One of four children of a boat’s carpenter and a dress-maker, by the age of seventeen he had left school and was running a greengrocer’s in Jericho, Oxford, with his older brother.
At the outbreak of the Great War Private Walcroft enlisted and then went with his battalion to Mesopotamia under the command of the 17th Indian Brigade of the 6th (Poona) Division of the Indian Army. He saw action during the Battle of Ctesiphon in November of 1915, where half of the British and Indian soldiers, over four thousand, were killed or wounded. They retreated to Kut-al-Amara where they were besieged by the Turks until they surrendered the following April.
Private Walcroft did not live to endure the siege, as he contracted pneumonia during the early days and passed away the day after Christmas Day. He lies buried in the Amara War Cemetery in what is now Iraq, and is remembered on the war memorial at St. Matthew’s church in Grandpont, Oxford.
Arthur, born in Wallingford and raised in Oxford, was 21 years old