11 Jul 2010

SCOONES Archibald John

Sergeant 926316, D Battery, 290th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery
Killed in Action on Saturday 23rd March, 1918
Commemorated: Pozières Memorial, Somme, Panel 7 to 10

Archibald Scoones was born in Camberwell in 1887, the son of Edward and Kate Scoones. At the time of the 1911 census the family were still in London and living at 75 Arran Road, Catford. Edward was the manager at a factory making toilet preparations, and both Archibald and his younger brother Horace were clerks in the same business. It's not known when they moved to Lancing, but Edward Scoones must have either been relatively successful, or perhaps had inherited money, as by the outbreak of war they were living at Laurel Lodge, North Road, Lancing, a large detached house just south of Monks Farm, and opposite the present turning for North Farm Road. Archibald Scoones' service record does not survive at The National Archives, but it is known that he joined the army in September 1914, enlisting in Lewisham, while resident in Lancing.

He must have proved an efficient and responsible soldier, as three and a half years on he had reached the rank of Sergeant. Unfortunately, like several other Lancing men, the German Spring Offensive or 'Kaiserschlacht' of 1918 was to be his last action. The Battalion war diary held at the National Archives [WO95/2995] shows that his unit was about 20 miles south of St. Quentin, near Chauny, and withdrawing daily. They had lost heavily on March 21st, with casualties of 122 officers and men killed, injured or captured, and also 16 horses. There is no mention in the diary of casualties on the 23rd March, but the nature of Archie Scoones death was mentioned in the Sussex Daily News on 20th May 1918:

SERGEANT A. J. SCOONES - LANCING - Mr. and Mrs Scoones of Laurel Lodge, Lancing, have sustained a bereavement by the war, their son Sgt. A. J. Scoones, Royal Field Artillery, having been killed by a shell on the Western Front. Enlisting in September 1914 he had been in this theatre of war since January 1917. He was thirty-one and single.

Archibald Scoones has no known grave and is commemorated on the Pozières Memorial, Somme - his name does not appear on Lancing War Memorial as his parents left Lancing in about 1920 and moved to Maidenhead, Berkshire, but he is included here as a Lancing man throughout the war years. However, his name does appear on the war memorial of St. Peter, Brockley, in the Borough of Lewisham - the area that he and his family knew as 'home.'

Archibald Scoones name engraved on a panel at the Pozières Memorial, Somme


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