A plaque next to the pulpit in Wing church commemorates Arthur Frederick Taverner, the son of the rector, one of three villagers to die in the same week during the Battle of the Somme. Arthur was the son of the Reverend Frederick John and Frances Taverner of Wing Rectory. He was born at Loughborough on 25 July 1897 and educated at Stamford School and then at Oakham School, where he was a pupil between 1909 and 1915. He won his First Eleven and First Fifteen colours, and was a prefect during his last year. His father took over as rector of Wing at the beginning of 1915 and nine months later in September 1915, at the age of 18, Arthur was given a commission in the 9th Battalion King's Shropshire Light Infantry. He went out to France in June 1916 and on 11 July was transferred to D Company of the 1st Battalion, two weeks before his nineteenth birthday. On 12 October 1916 the battalion was ordered to support the York and Lancaster Regiment in an attack on German trenches near Gueudecourt during the Somme battle. The Shropshires would go forward and occupy Misty and Rainbow trenches from where the Yorks and Lancs had launched the attack. The Shropshires' battalion war diary states: "This operation was unsuccessful owing to hidden machine guns being left in advance of our artillery barrage; in spite of this the battalion successfully accomplished its task of occupying our front line when the leading battalion advanced to the assault." The war diary says Arthur was one of several officers wounded, while "55 N.C.O's and men became casualties." A few days later, on 18 October, the war diary states: "2nd Lts J R Mylius and A F Taverner reported died of wounds received 12/10/16." The two officers are buried together in Grove Town British Cemetery, Méaulte, on the site of a Casualty Clearing Station known as Grove Town. Arthur is grave I.B.1 while John Kingsford Mylius is next to him in grave I.B.2. In Rutland and the Great War, George Phillips says Arthur was killed by a machine gun bullet while in charge of a working party on the night of 10 October. His headstone states he died on 11 October. So there is clearly some discrepancy about how and when he died, though sometime between October 12 and 18 is more probable and the war diary probably the most reliable source. As well as being remembered on the war memorial inside St Peter and St Paul's Church in Wing, there is also the family plaque (which gives his death as 11 October). The Reverend Taverner remained rector until the 1930s and would have had his son's memorial beside him throughout all the services he conducted. Arthur is also on Oakham School's war memorial and Stamford's war memorial. The two other soldiers from Wing to die in the same week as Arthur were Edwin Hubbard and Brian Bagley.
See where all our Rutland soldiers died during the Battle of the Somme on our interactive map.
Picture below of Oakham School Cricket First XI courtesy Andrew Renshaw, author of Wisden on the Great War.
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