Captain Arthur (not Archer) Chernocke Downes was the fourth child and the youngest and last surviving son of the late Lieutenant-Colonel Villers Somerville Downes (died in 1909) of Aspley House, Aspley Guise, Bedfordshire. (East Lancashire (59th) Regiment). His mother was Catherine Elizabeth Anne, daughter of Frederick Thompson, of Wimbledon Park.
Arthur was born at Aspley House on 5 August 1892 and educated The Knoll, Woburn Sands, Winchester College and Trinity College Oxford. He obtained his commission in the 1st Battalion on 2nd September 1913 and at the outbreak of war he was attached to the 3rd Battalion.. He died at Poperinghe, Flanders on 20 November 1914 of wounds received in action at Neuve Eglise, near Bailleul.
He had left the trench to help a wounded man when he was shot. The War Diary states that the Battalion was in reserve dugouts on the 20th and experienced "Some shelling"! Nevertheless, since entering the trenches it had experienced "killed 35, wounded 99" + many missing.
Captain Downs was unmarried and was buried in Poperinghe Communal Cemetery, Grave I.B.5. The inscription reads
"He shall receive the crown of life"
1st Battalion, The Cheshire Regiment
Captain Arthur Chernocke DOWNES
- Died of wounds 20 November 1914
ã G E Conway, 2008
Captain Downes' brother, Lieutenant Villers Chernocke Downes also died of wounds on 18 October 1914.
He was the third son of the family and was also born Aspley House on 5 March 1891 and also educated at The Knoll, Woburn Sands, Winchester College and Trinity College Oxford. He was gazetted to the 3rd Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment (TF) 15 July 1913.
On the outbreak of war he was posted to the first Battalion and went to France with the First Expeditonary Force. He served through the retreat from Mons and the Battle of the Marne and was instumental in saving three guns.
He died at St Omer on 18 October 1914 of wounds received in action and was buried in the cemetery there. Lieutenant Downes had passed as a musketry instructor, and was nearly due for his Captaincy.
In 1922 a War Memorial was unvieled in the grounds containing the names of both brothers.
(Photos courtesy of Bedfordshire County Council)
Lieutenant Downes' military service and where he is buried.