Arthur Hoyle Scholefield


This post was written by Victoria Doran

Arthur Hoyle Scholefield was a Yorkshireman with a solicitor’s practice in London at the outbreak of war who died during the Battle of Arras. His parents retired to West Kirby just before the war.

19th London Regiment badge from Albany Street Drill Hall - wiki.jpg

London Regiment badge on the wall of the Drill Hall in Albany Street

Arthur Hoyle Scholefield was born plain Arthur Scholefield in Sowerby Bridge near Halifax, Yorkshire in the spring of 1883. He had an older brother, George (1879-1951), and sister, Mary (1881-1950) and a younger brother, John (1885-1947). Another sibling died in infancy. The name was not always spelled Scholefield, variants ranging from Schofield to Scholfield in various records and branches of the family. The Scholefields had lived in the Halifax area since at least 1818, but originated in Lancashire.

His father, John Herbert Scholefield (1850-1926) was the 5th child and the 3rd of the 4 sons in the family of 7 children of William Scholefield (1818-1875) and Harriet Jowett (1819-1881). William and Harriet were married on 8 March 1841 at St John the Baptist, Halifax.

William Scholefield & Harriet Jowett marriage.jpeg copy.jpeg

However they were married ‘by Certificate’ not ‘by Banns’ or ‘by Licence’ which indicates that they were non-conformists not Church of England. It is believed that the family were Wesleyan Methodists.

It was Arthur’s great grandfather Charles Scholefield (1796-1876) who started the family’s success. Charles started out as an illiterate weaver, but by 1851 he was a woollen manufacturer employing 20 men. For some inexplicable reason, William gave his father’s occupation as ‘fell monger’ when he married. Possibly the entry is incorrect and it was Harriet’s father, William Jowett, who was the fell monger.

William Scholefield was the eldest of Charles and Mary Scholefield’s 11 children. He started out as a saddler, but by 1848 was a book keeper, probably in his father’s business. He went on to work with his next 2 brother, Charles William (1843-1906) and Fred Jowett (1848-1919), running a business manufacturing tarpaulin. His youngest brother, George Edward (1856-1933), became a doctor and Medical Officer of Health for West Lancashire Rural District Council. So the family was now securely middle class.

Arthur’s father started out as a draper’s assistant, moving on to be a woollen merchant, but at some stage in his 40s joined the family business as in 1892 he described himself as a tarpaulin manufacturer. The family was still living in Halifax at the time of the 1911 census, but had moved to West Kirby by March 1914, probably when John Herbert Scholefield retired.

Nothing is known of Arthur’s mother, Mary Hoyle (1852-1938) before her marriage to John Herbert Scholefield in the Todmorden registration district of Yorkshire in the autumn of 1878. It is not even certain what county she was born in as her place of birth is recorded as Bacup, Lancashire  and Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire on different censuses.

It is not known where Arthur was educated, but his younger brother, John, was  a boarder at University School, Blackpool, Lancashire, so it is probable that Arthur also attended a Public School. In 1891, at the age of 18, he was a solicitor’s articled clerk in Halifax. By 1901 he had moved to Hampstead, London and was a qualified solicitor and employer. He did not, however, have his own household as he lived in a Boarding House alongside 3 other young professionals.

In 1913 Arthur changed his name formally to Arthur Hoyle Scholefield.

Arthur Scholefield name change.jpg

London Gazette February 1913

He probably did this to avoid confusion with another somewhat more prominent solicitor from Newcastle upon Tyne also named Arthur Scholefield. This older Arthur Scholefield frequently figures in the London Gazette.

In March 1914 he travelled on the “Carmania’ to New York en route to visiting a friend in Toronto.

It is not known when he enlisted. He started as Private 4616 in the Inns of Court Regiment. During the war this served as an officer training unit. He was commissioned on 12 November 1915, joining the 19th/1st Battalion of the London Regiment as a 2nd Lieutenant.

A H Scholefield LG 1915 11 16.jpg

London Gazette 16 November 1915

In due course, probably in 1916, he arrived in France. Nothing is known about his service as when he died he was attached to the 2nd / 5th Battalion of his regiment which was part of the 174th Brigade of the 58th Division. Without knowing when he was so attached we cannot be certain what action he saw.

From the 3rd to the 17th May 1917 the 58th Division took part in the Battle of Bullecourt. This was an attempt to break through the Hindenburg Line and was part of the Battle of Arras which started in early April 1917.

Hindenburg Line near Bullecourt wiki.jpg

Aerial view of the Hindenburg Line near Bullecourt – from wikipedia

The zig-zag lines are the German trenches.

The Hindenburg line was the heavily fortified line that the Germans retreated to after the Battle of the Somme. They considered it to be more defensible.

From a report in the Leeds Mercury of 31 May 1917 relating to men from Halifax who had recently died, we know that Arthur was killed by machine gun fire whilst returning from patrol duty on 18 May 1917. He was 34 years old.

His body was not recovered and he is commemorated on the Arras Memorial.

Arras Memorial jpg.jpg

Arras Memorial

He is also commemorated on Grange Hill War Memorial and the Rolls of Honour in St Bridget and St Andrew churches and West Kirby Methodist Church, all in West Kirby. He was also apparently commemorated on the War Memorial of Bolton Brow Wesleyan Chapel in Sowerby Bridge, Yorkshire. The Chapel was closed in 1979 and the fittings stripped. It is not known what happened to the War Memorial. He seems to have been incorrectly recorded as Arthur Hall Scholefield.

It is unlikely that Arthur ever did more than pay short visits to the area after his father retired, but, as he had no settled home of his own, he would have regarded where his parents lived as ‘home’.

His older brother George emigrated to Canada in 1904 and farmed in Alberta before retiring to British Columbia.

Younger brother John also emigrated to farm in Canada before the war. It is known that he served in the Canadian Army, but the details are unknown. After the war he returned to Wirral, became an estate agent and lived in Heswall.

Sister Mary never married, living in West Kirby most of her life. She died in British Columbia, apparently having gone to live with or near her brother George after John died.

Birth: April 1883 at Sowerby Bridge, Yorkshire
Death: 18 May 1917 killed in action at Bullecourt, Pas de Calais, France
Addresses: Hollings Mill Lane, Warley, Yorkshire (91); Rawson Avenue, Halifax, Yorkshire (01); 13 Rudall Crescent, Hampstead, London (11); ‘Camrose’, 8 Claremont Road, West Kirby (15)
Occupation: solicitor
Units: Inns of Court Regiment; 19th/1st Battalion London Regiment, attached 2nd / 5th Battalion
Number and Ranks: 4616, Private; 2nd Lieutenant
Medals: Victory & British War
Commemorated: Arras Memorial; Grange Hill War Memorial, West Kirby; St Bridget & St Andrew churches, West Kirby
Sources: CWGC, MC, Leeds Mercury, Census: 91, 01, 11, BR, PR, WKM, Probate,


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