Arthur Gilding was one of five men named on the Bottesford War Memorial who served with the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) during WW1 – Charles Bend, Arthur Gilding, Frank Raithby, Charles Pacey and Robert Turlington Noble Page. All five emigrated to Canada in the early 1900s. None would survive.
Born in Bottesford in 1892, the son of Mary and Daniel Gilding, Arthur emigrated with his boyhood friend, Charles Pacey, on the SS Dominion out of Liverpool on March 9th, 1911. Arthur’s older brother Frank Gilding served with the Leicestershire Regiment, was seriously wounded and died in 1923.
Arthur Gilding initially joined Herbert and Martha Hallam’s family in Oak Lake, Manitoba as a farm labourer. Herbert Hallam was originally from Bottesford and was working in London before his emigration to Canada.
He enlisted on the 12th May 1915 in Saskatoon giving his occupation as ‘Butcher’.
Charles Pacey wrote home on the 14th August 1915 that he had
“Not heard from Saskatoon yet so he (Arthur) must have joined the Army I guess we will have to wait for a while.”*
However he did not have to wait long for news.
On the 9th November 1915 Arthur was posted with reinforcements to the 8th Canadian Battalion to serve alongside his friend Charles Pacey.
Arthur was promoted to corporal on the 15th July 1916. He was Injured at Brigade HQ after shelling on the 11th September 1916 – the only casualty – and died of his wounds 2 days later.
Charles Pacey, wrote home soon after Arthur’s loss
My job is not too bad it only needs
a man with guts to go under fire &
dress the wounded & get them in safely (.)
a fellow don’t think about himself but his
comrades & since Arthur’s has gone I took
to this work with a heart and hope to do more
Charles was killed in action later that same year on the 2nd December.
* Quoted with kind permission from letters in the possession of Audrey Pacey