Arthur Bottrell

Rank: Private
Service Number: 3111
Unit: 53rd Batallion
Date of Death: 19 February 1917
Cemetery: Southall (Havelock) Cemetery, Middlesex

When three friends from Amosfield enlisted on the same day to fight in World War I, they could not have imagined how events would unfold. Ernest Beddow, Arthur Bottrell, and James Newley all joined the 35th Battalion in Armidale on 3 October 1916. On 28 January 1917, Private Beddow died of pneumonia three weeks after arriving in England. Three weeks later Private Bottrell also died of pneumonia, nine days after he arrived in England. Private James Newley suffered from a variety of illnesses in England before returning to Australia and being discharged as medically unfit.

Arthur Bottrell

Arthur Bottrell was born in Amosfield, in 1896, to Thomas and Sarah Bottrell. The Bottrells were reported to be among the most respected Amosfield families. When Arthur enlisted, he was 20 years and four months old and had worked as a grazier and labourer. He underwent his medical for enlistment at Tenterfield on 1 September 1916. Arthur, together with Ernie Beddow and James Newley joined the 35th Battalion on 3 October in Armidale.

The three new recruits went into training at the Rutherford Army Camp, Maitland. It was there that Ernie remained with the 35th Battalion while Arthur and James were transferred to the 8th Reinforcements of the 53rd Battalion. Arthur and James left Sydney on active service aboard HMAT Suevic on 11 November 1916. Two weeks earlier, Ernie Beddow had left from Sydney on active service with the 35th Battalion. Whilst sailing to England, Arthur was admitted to the onboard hospital on 5 January 1917 suffering from mumps. Following a slow voyage, Arthur and James disembarked at Devonport, England, on 30 January.

Their friend, Private Ernie Beddow had died of pneumonia on 28 January at the Fargo Military Hospital. Then, just nine days after arriving in England, Private Arthur Bottrell also died of pneumonia, at the 2nd Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Southall, London, on 9 February. Arthur was 20 years old and was buried in the Southall Norwood Cemetery.

The Stanthorpe Border Post reported Arthur’s death on 2 March 1917:

Private Arthur Bottrell:  News was received in town on Monday night that Private Arthur Bottrell had died in England from pneumonia.  The deceased soldier was the son of Mr T. Bottrell, of Amosfield, and enlisted last year.  His parents received a cable from him about a fortnight ago that he had arrived safely in England, and they received a shock when news of his death was broken to them.  The word came to the Rev. H. M. Wheller, but as he was away in Brisbane the Rev. E. Oerton kindly undertook the sad duty of breaking the news to Private Bottrell’s parents, for whom much sympathy will be felt.

The Glen Innes Examiner published a similar report on 5 March 1917:

 News has been received of the death from pneumonia of Private Arthur Bottrell, of Amosfield. He went into camp with Privates Newley and Beddow, of this district. The latter, it will be remembered, succumbed to the same malady.

The Stanthorpe Border Post provided more details of Arthur’s death on 25 May 1917:

The late Private Bottrell:  In connection with the death of Private Bottrell recorded in these columns some time ago, two letters have come to hand giving particulars of the lad’s death.  One is from the orderly who nursed him and the other is from his commanding officer, Lieutenant A.C. Woolrych, of the 53rd Battalion, who writes to Mr Thomas Bottrell the following: from Salisbury, England – “You will no doubt have been advised ere this of the death of your son.  As his officer I am writing to tell you how much I regret to have to inform you of the news.  It is hard to lose a son, but this war, I fear, asks of all of us, to make the greatest sacrifices. Your son was taken unwell on disembarkation leave in London, and went to St. Marylebone School’s part of No 2 A.A. Hospital Southall, Middlesex, on the 13th of last month.  Only six days afterwards he died of pneumonia on the 19th, so you see his illness was but a short one.  I know that everything that could be done was done to save his life.  Although he never actually saw any fighting he died on active service and is one of many who have laid down their lives for their country.  I know from actual experience that your son had a high sense of duty and would have made a splendid fighter.  Please accept from me my deepest sympathy in your bereavement.”  

On 5 June 1917, in a letter to Thomas Bottrell from Army Base Records, it was explained that Arthur had died at Southall Australian Military Hospital on 19 February 1917 of pneumonia and was buried at Southall Norwood Cemetery, Southall with the Very Reverend Dean Mercier officiating. The letter continued:

The deceased was accorded a Military Funeral, the remains being followed to the Cemetery by a Platoon of Australian Soldiers under the Command of Captain T.E. Davis A.I.F. The firing Party was provided by the Royal Fusiliers, the “Last Post” being sounded by an Australian Bugler. No relatives were present at the funeral.

It was noted that a good condition elm coffin was provided by Undertakers Messrs. A Sharp & Sons of High Street, Hanwell.

Private Arthur Bottrell is remembered with honour on the Amosfield-Liston War Memorial.

James Newley was much older than his friends, Ernie Beddow and Arthur Bottrell. James was 44 years and 10 months old when he underwent his medical on 1 September 1916 at Tenterfield. He was a grazier and lived at Amosfield with his wife, Sydney.  

Upon his arrival in England, James was admitted to the Military Hospital Devonport on 30 January 1917. He marched into the 14th Training Battalion at Hurdcott on 14 February 1917. Throughout 1917, James was admitted to hospital on numerous occasions which led to him returning to Australia on 19 October 1917 aboard H.T. Port Lyttleton. James arrived in Sydney on 15 December and reported suffering hemorrhoids, varicose veins, and pain in the testicles after having mumps. Private James Newley was discharged from the Army as being medically unfit on 29 January 1918. His application for a war pension was rejected as “his incapacity was not the result of warlike operations.”


Tenterfield”. p.6. The Glen Innes Examiner. 5 March 1917.

Personal Notes“. p.13. The Queenslander. 3 March 1917.


St.Marylebone School, Southall.

Australian War Memorial Collection H11703. Australian soldiers at a motor mechanics class in an Australian Red cross Society workshop at No 2 Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Southall.   

Southall (Havelock) Cemetery, Middlesex.