When I met Arthur Newson…..

When I met Arthur Newson…..

Following on from the recent articles in Framfare magazine in Framlingham Suffolk http://www.framfare.com about Arthur Newson and John Bridges subsequent piece ‘A tale of Three Arthur Newsons’ I thought I would share with you a story that Arthur told me when I visited him, whilst I was researching my Framlingham War Memorial book book in 2011.

When Arthur contacted me through Eileen at the Town Council I thought it was because he was related to the ‘A J Newson’ listed on the War Memorial, but the connection was totally different to what I expected.

The ‘A J Newson’ that died in World War 1 from Framlingham was Alec John Newson who was born in early 1894 and was the only child of Arthur and Alice Newson (nee Moore).

The 1911 the census shows the family living at the Castle Inn in Framlingham with Alec aged 17 and his father Arthur’s occupation shown as Beer Retailer and Dealer.

When War broke out in 1914 Alec John Newson enlisted in Framlingham and joined the Suffolk Regiment as Private 9380 of the 7th Battalion. He was killed in the Battle of the Somme on 7th July 1916 aged 22 and is remembered in the Lamberts Family Almanack of that year as follows:

Alec John Newson died July 7th, in France, aged 22 years. Before the outbreak of war he was employed at the Co-operative Society’s Office, afterwards accepting the position of clerk at Roller Mills (Bridge Street), which he held up to the time of his enlistment shortly after the outbreak of war. He had a kindly disposition and manly bearing which endeared him to all.

He has no known grave and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial in France.

Arthur Newson and his father knew Alec’s family as stated in John’s recent article and when Alec was killed his father still had his son’s pocket watch made in Framlingham, which was inscribed ‘A Newson’ on the back – he then gave it to Arthur simply because he had the same initial as his son Alec and because it was a painful reminder of his son that he did not want to keep.

When I visited Arthur I was able to see and hold this watch, something that I felt very privileged to do.

Simon

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