Military Medal, British War and Victory Medal, Private Arthur Envill, Rifle Brigade and K.R.R.C., An Orphan who signed up at 18 and won a M.M. with the 3rd Battalion Rifle Brigade.
MM officially impressed: “S-34792 Pte A. Envill 3/Rif: Brig:” Minor official correction to service number.
Pair officially impressed: “S-34792 Pte A. Envill Rif. Brig.”
Military Medal announced in the London Gazette, 13th September 1918.
He was put in for a commendation following an operation, when the 3rd Rifle Brigade fought back against the Germans on the First Day of the German Spring Offensive on 21st March 1918.
On that day, at Cookers Quarry, “Here Captain T. Fenner MC made a splendid fight, and when his company were nearly surrounded he skilfully withdrew whilst inflicting heavy losses on the enemy. The battalion fighting against great odds, fell back gradually and withdrew to a position just west of Battn HQ.” Fenner was shortly after killed by a shell.
A full report of operations signed 10th April 1918, by the Lt Col Kewley DSO MC in command details the fighting stemming from the launch of the German Spring Offensive up until the end of March and notes at the end:
The following Officers NCOs and Men were among those who did excellent work:
Major the Hon Boscawen Home, Capt Wilbraham MC, Captain Fenner MC, Capt Reade, 2 Lieuts, 4 2/Lieuts, and 25 NCOs and Men including “Rifleman Envill”.
The entire battle is recounted in very detailed pages in the Battalions War Diary.
Medals display mounted, in good preserved condition as when he got them he left the war behind, never speaking of it again.(According to his Daughter).
With full set of copy service records, medal index card etc.
Arthur Envill M.M. was born on 16th September 1898, in Leyton, Essex.
The son of local West Ham French Polisher, Joseph John Envill (1867-1905) and Emma R. Envill nee Groves (1873-1954)
He lost his father when he was just a boy, aged about 7 and their Mother was not tasked with raising 5 young children, the family was broken up, one of his Brothers Frederick and Sister Elsie (Elizabeth) were sent to their Grandparents, the Gurr’s in Shoreditch, but there appears to have been no room for poor young Arthur Envill anywhere.
By the 1911 Census, he was shown as a resident School Boy in the Boy’s Refuge Home, at Fortescue House in Twickenham, which took in young boys between about 9 to 12 years old at admission who were deemed to be homeless or destitute, and had also not been convicted of any crimes.
Arthur was too young to fight in the war when it began, but his brother Frederick, 2 years his senior had signed up, and shortly afterwards was declared as having Died of Wounds in France on 10th October 1916 with the 3rd Royal Fusiliers.
Once Arthur turned 18, he also enlisted on 14th March 1917, he had been working as an Electrical Wire Insulator living in Leyton, Essex.
He saw the following service:
Home, 14th March 1917 – 20th November 1917
British Expeditionary Force: 21st November 1917 – 25th September 1919, 1 year 309 days
Home, 26th September 1919 – 23rd October 1919.
Reserbe, 24th october 1919 – 1st March 1920.
Married to Pretoria Florence Gooding during 1926.
Died in Waltham Forest, Greater London, during July 1976.
“Everyoneremembered.org” has a page for his fallen older brother, Frederick Envill, and the following commemoration was left by Arthur’s daughter for Frederick, slight correction Frederick was actually his Brother, but the family was split following the death of his father, so Fred and his sister Elsie (Elizabeth) went to live with their Grandparents, the Gurrs in Shoreditch:
“Frederick was the cousin of my Grandfather, Arthur Envill (1898-1976). Arthur also served in and survived WW1. Arthur was in the Kings Royal Rifle Brigade and received the Gallantry medal. He never spoke of his experiences but I am sure he would want to remember the sacrifice his cousin made for us all. Frederick was only 23 when he lost his life and he never had the chance to have a family of his own. His father had died and his mother, Elizabeth Envill (nee Gurr) and sister Elsie were left behind. Frederick's mother lived to be 81 years of age. The Envill family was so small (my mother is one of the last to have the surname) and there are very few of them left now so I want to make sure that the bravery of the family is recorded in history for future generations.
Rest in peace Frederick, I will pass on these memories to my own children so that your name will be kept alive for generations to come.”