Captain Arthur Gilbert Walsh Church

Service Army
Rank Captain
Regiment:Devonshire Regiment, 1st/5th Battalion
Date of Birth: 13/07/1894
Born Darjeeling, India
Date of Death: 20/07/1918
Memorial: Dawlish Memorial Inscription CHURCH A.G.W. Capt Devon Regt

Service History

He left Charterhouse in July 1913 and sought a commission in the 5th (Prince of Wales' own) Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment. He was awarded a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant on the 10th November 1913.  “The Devonshire Regiment 1914-1918” by C T Atkinson shows that the 5th Devons were transported to India in October 1914 aboard the transport “Nevasa” and Lieut A G W Church was among 28 officers and 800 men. On 22 March 1917, 27 officers and 877 other ranks embarked at Bombay for Palestine after spending more than two years on garrison duty in India. They reached Suez on April 4th and proceeded to Ismailia where they re-equipped. In June they went to Deir el Behah for instruction in trench warfare against the Turkish lines.

The 5th Devons were next ordered to France and left Egypt on 26 May 1918 in convoy for Marseilles. On arrival they were moved up to the Western Front to join the 62nd Division. On 14 July they were under Marshal Foch to resist a new German offensive south of the Aisne.

On 19 July they detrained at Arcis sur Aube for an attack down the valley of the Ardre. The attack began at 8.10am on 20 July but casualties were heavy: the 5th Devons had two officers and 34 men killed, among them was Captain Church, a splendid company commander and a “pre-war” officer of the battalion.   (further description in Documents)

Association with Dawlish

Arthur G W Church was the second son of Charles Theobald Walsh Church (1860-1937) and Gertrude Rose Birch (1861-1894).

Charles T W Church had been born in Dawlish to Frederick Church (1814- ), a retired Royal Navy (officer?) and Emma Walsh (1827- ) who had been born in Bramdean, Hampshire but whose family had been settled at Bridge House, Dawlish, since 1829. Her father, Theobald Walsh (1795-1852) a retired vicar from Dublin, had married Arabella Jackson (1799-1878) and they had eight children including another Theobald and a Gilbert, both of which names recur in the Church family.

Charles T W Church entered the army in the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment and was stationed in India where he married Gertrude Rose Birch who had been born in Murree, Bengal. They married in 1890 in Ferozepur, Punjab and he was stationed at Jalapahar, Darjeeling when their second son Arthur was born in 1894. Gertrude died there in the same year but it is not known if the two events were connected. Their first son, Edward Theobald Walsh Church, was also born in Darjeeling, in 1892 and entered the Royal Navy, following his grandfather.

Arthur Gilbert Walsh Church was sent away to board at Charterhouse school, Godalming, Surrey, in 1908. Whilst at Charterhouse he joined the Rifle Corps, reaching the rank of Sergeant, represented Verites House at Rackets and was a keen member of the Debating Society. He was appointed as School Monitor and left with a School Exhibition to Hertford College, Oxford. (full profile in Documents)

Devon Roll of Honour Church, Arthur Gilbert Walsh, Capt, Devon Regt, 20th July 1918, France
Additional Information Commonwealth War Graves Site

Next of Kin: Father, Charles Theobald Walsh Church
Last Known Address: Gortlee, Dawlish

Captain A G W Church, 5th Battalion The Devonshire Regiment

A G W Church at Charterhouse 1908-1913

Application form for Commission with his signature

Headstone at Marfaux Cemetery, France for A G W Church

Free Birth Marriage Death records

Commonwealth War Graves Commission site

“The Devonshire Regiment 1914-1918” by C T Atkinson

Army officer records at the National Archive, Kew

Subscription websites:

Ancestry for Walsh, Jackson and Church family histories

Probate record

UK, Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects.