Arthur George Naish
|North Somerset Yeomanry, Private 1518|
6th Dragoons (Inniskilling) Private 165601
|Died of wounds 19th June 1918|
Arthur Naish's Parents
|Arthur Naish's parents were Arthur James Naish and Sarah Ann Hill. |
Arthur James Naish
Arthur (senior) grew up on Combe Down. His father was a labourer and quarryman, working predominantly (we assume) in the stone mines that were at the heart of Combe Down life and that are now documented at the Ralph Allen CornerStone centre. When Arthur (senior) was 8, he was living with his grandparents at ‘4 Tiney Place’ (now Tyning Place), while his parents lived nearby at Edwards Cottages (exact location uncertain) with their three younger children. In 1891, however, the family was reunited and living at 1 Albert Place, with 18-year-old Arthur (senior) employed as a painter.Regarding the spelling of the surname ‘Naish’, census returns show Arthur’s great-grandparents and other family members listed as ‘Nash’, although the written census returns were completed by enumerators at that time. On the 1881 census, Arthur’s grandfather (James) has the ‘Naish’ spelling, although the enumerator has added the 'i' as an afterthought. This shows how closely connected similarly-spelled names are and how easily they diverge:
In 1891, the census entry for James again has ‘Nash’, but Arthur (senior) is listed as ‘Naish’ in both 1901 and 1911 census entries; the latter he would have completed himself.
Arthur’s mother grew up on ‘Odd Down’ at a time when Odd Down was nothing more than a far-flung corner of the Lyncombe & Widcombe parish; for many purposes Odd Down - along with the groups of cottages on Rush Hill - was considered an outpost of Englishcombe and consisted of relatively few cottages in small groups scattered over the down, near to sources of work such as small surface stone mines. Cottages were also dotted over the slopes down towards Bath, but Bath itself did not extend in this direction beyond Upper Oldfield Park and Bear Flat at that time.
Sarah’s father was a stonemason and there were 11 children in total. In 1891, the family home was a cottage in a row called Bristol View (on Kilkenny Lane) which was home to the parents and eight children. Sarah lived at this time with her uncle & aunt, Frederick & Mary Hill, and their five children living at 3 Hedgedown Cottages. This address is now on Rush Hill, up behind what used to be the Rose & Laurel public house. Sarah, at the age of 15, was listed as a domestic servant; it is not clear whether she was a servant to her uncle or whether she worked elsewhere during the day.
The Naish Family
Arthur (senior) and Sarah married at Bath Register Office in 1893.
Arthur (senior) and Sarah spent the first years of their married life living next door to Sarah’s parents at Bristol View on Kilkenny Lane, Odd Down. Arthur (senior) carried on his trade of painting and decorating. While living here they had their first four children, of whom Arthur was the eldest, born in 1894.
Bristol View on Kilkenny Lane, Odd Down, where Arthur Naish spent his early years at number 2, with his grandparents next door at number 1 (nearest house).
In 1901, the census lists the family living in Oldfield Park at 26 Moorland Road (now the Cheong Sing Chinese take-away), although the Bath Directories (sometimes a little slow to capture events accurately) show that their stay here was probably extremely brief; the 1901 directory shows them still living at Bristol View and the 1902 directory lists them at 108 West Avenue, where they remained until 1905.
108 West Avenue
Arthur would have attended school from the age of 5 (in about 1899), so may have begun his schooling on Odd Down (at what is now St. Philip's school) prior to moving to Oldfield Park and South Twerton school. He would therefore have walked to school from 108 West Avenue for most of his time at South Twerton.
In 1906 the family moved to 26 West Avenue, when Arthur would have been twelve years old and finishing his schooling. They moved again to 22 West Avenue in 1909 and the family stayed here for many years.
The 1911 census included a requirement to state the number of children born to a couple, with an indication of how many were still alive and how many had died. Curiously, the numbers given were 6 (born), 5 (still alive) and 1 (died). This does not tally with the births attributed to the family in the tree above. All are registered on Bath births register with the mother’s maiden name ‘Hill’ but of course none features on a census; it is therefore possible that two of these children were not associated with the family; it is also possible (and it would not be uncommon) that the form was completed incorrectly.
The 1911 census also shows us that Arthur was working as a bookbinder for a publishing house. This was the Pitman Press on the Lower Bristol Road (see the history of S H Burch for more details on the Pitman Press).
Arthur Naish in WW1
North Somerset Yeomanry
The details of the departure of the North Somerset Yeomanry for active service is detailed in the history of Alexander Davis, although Arthur Naish's later serial number brings into question when he enlisted and first saw active service. Having attended the same school and serving in the same unit, Arthur Naish and Alexander Davis would have known each other well.
The Yeomanry was a mounted unit (distinct from the Infantry). While horses provided a huge resource in the war effort, mounted units were entirely unsuited to the conditions in many phases of the war, meaning that they were sometimes used as auxiliary personnel, drafted in as reinforcements for other units, or were re-trained for infantry or machine gun duties.
The North Somerset Yeomanry was part of 6th Cavalry Brigade in the 3rd Cavalry Division for the major part of the war. We have the War diary of the North Somerset Yeomanry for the duration of the war up until March 1918. By spring 1918, however (we don't yet know exactly when), Arthur Naish was serving with the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons, who on 10th March joined 7th Cavalry Brigade (replacing the Household Cavalry who had been retrained as machine gunners and left 7th Cavalry Brigade). Twerton War Memorial lists Victor Ebdon of Millmead Road (now Oldfield Park) who also transferred from the NSY to the 6th Dragoons and had the serial number 165630 (versus 165601 for Arthur Naish), so we can assume they joined the dragoons on the same day and served together, having lived just yards apart in Bath.
The exact circumstances of Arthur Naish’s death are not clear. It is known that he died on 19th June 1918 from his wounds after ‘shellburst’ shattered his leg and wounded his arm & chest. We do not (yet) know exactly when or where these injuries were sustained. The 6th Dragoons appear to have been disbanded prior to this date; we need to do more research.
The above notices appeared in the Bath Chronicle & Weekly Gazette in July 1918. The lower item reports the deaths of Arthur Naish, Harold Swain and Clifford Daymond, while the upper shows South Twerton school families doing their bit to support wounded soldiers.
|Private Arthur Naish would have been in receipt - posthumously - of the British War Medal and the Allied Victory Medal. Whether he received the 1914 Star or the 1914-15 Star – he probably would have received one or other – depends on when he first saw action in France. His serial number is later than that of Alexander Davis, who earned the 1914 Star.|
|British War Medal 1914-18||Allied Victory Medal|
Montigny Communal Cemetery
There are apparently two cemeteries with this name. Thanks to Mike Sumsion for letting us know that Arthur Naish is buried at Montigny-sur-l'Hallue.
From the Commonwealth War Graves Commission:
The communal cemetery was used by the 47th (London) and 58th (London) Divisions from May to August 1918. It contains 56 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, three of which are unidentified.
(6th Dragoons were in neither Division!?)
This photograph of Arthur Naish's grave is supplied by Mike Sumsion, who has gone from Bath on several visits to the war graves of many Bathonians on the Western Front and has kindly taken the trouble to search out the sometimes very small cemeteries which are the final resting place of the Oldfield Park men.
The spelling on the headstone reverts to the more common 'Nash'. The headstone also references Naish's attachment to the North Somerset Yeomanry, rather than the 6th Dragoons, even though his service number is that of the Dragoons.
In addition to his commemoration on the South Twerton School memorial, Trooper Arthur Naish is commemorated as follows:
Bath War Memorial
See separate page for details of the Bath War Memorial. Arthur Naish's inscription:
Ascension Church Memorial
Arthur Naish's name is inscribed on the oak tablet in the Ascension Church (see separate page for details of the Ascension Church Memorial):
Pitman Press Memorial
The Pitman Press works on the Lower Bristol Road also created a memorial in 1924 that carried the names of workers from the company who gave their lives. It includes 4 South Twertonians - including Arthur Naish - and the brother of George Strong.
See the additional page on the Pitman Press Memorial for further details.
It would be great to hear from any living relatives of Arthur Naish. We know the following from public sites such as Bath BMD.
Please get in touch!If you have any further information on Arthur Naish, or want to suggest corrections / improvements for this page, please use the Contact page to get in touch.
AcknowledgementMany thanks to Mr David Carter who supplied the photograph of Arthur Naish.