Arthur Harbour is seated on the extreme left


Arthur Cyril Harbour (1895-1916) was born at 6 Town End Street, Godalming, the only son of Arthur Thomas Goodman and Emmeline Harbour (née Wayling). Arthur served in the First World War in Iraq and Afghanistan and wrote many letters home including an account of his boat journey to India, and he took photographs. These came up for auction and were purchased by Godalming Museum. In 2010 an exhibition was held ‘Routes and Roots’ tracing his routes as a soldier and his family roots from Garboldisham in Norfolk to Godalming.

In 1903-9 Arthur attended the Godalming Council School and was awarded in 1903 the Certificate of Merit by Ethel M Ridley, school mistress, for excellent progress. In 1906 a certificate was awarded by Surrey Education Committee to Arthur for a full attendance in the Christmas term and in 1907 a certificate for a full attendance in the Easter Term. In 1909 a certificate was awarded to Arthur by Pitman for passing an elementary examination in shorthand.

The 1911 census lists Harbour, Cyril Arthur, aged 15, born Godalming, living at 6, Town End Street with his parents and sisters, no occupation was given. In 1911 a certificate for swimming proficiency was awarded to Arthur by Surrey Education Committee. In 1912 the Surrey Advertiser of the 22nd June reported the Godalming Rifle Club Juniors shooting at Bisley, and shooting for Godalming was Arthur, who scored the highest points, 91. Before the war Arthur was serving his apprenticeship with Messrs. Dickinson and Burne Ltd. an engineering company in Guildford.

Arthur signed up for the First World War with the F Coy 5th Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment), in August 1914 and was posted to Canterbury. He sent a letter to his father on his father’s notepaper, Arthur T G Harbour, Architect & Surveyor, Quantities and Dilapidations, Sanitary Specialist, of 4 Church Street. Arthur wrote that he had a fine view of King George V, and was sending things home that were not wanted and was due for a medical inspection, and would be returning from Canterbury. On October 22nd 1914 he sent a Telegram “please send to Canterbury not sailing until 29th”. On November 28th Arthur sent a letter from S.S. Alaunia. A month later he sent A voyage to India Diary of the 5th Queens on Foreign Service written about his experiences as they sailed through the Mediterranean and Suez Canal. He sent many letters of his encounters to his family and friends. In 1915 his parents received a letter from the headmaster of Godalming Council School, Robert Palmer, thanking Mrs Harbour for the photos and letters sent from Arthur.

On the July 12th 1916 Arthur died of Cholera at Basra in India aged 20. His death was reported in the Surrey Advertiser. The Medal Roll Index lists Arthur of 1/5th Queen’s Regiment, Pte T/1735, awarded Victory and British and Star Badges, Date of Entry 10.12.15. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission give the details that his grave was at V1.U.9 Basra War Cemetery (Plot 6, Row U, Grave 9). He is listed in ‘Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919’ as private, Queen’s, died in Theatre of War – British Expeditionary Force. The Godalming Roll of Honour lists Arthur of Lynn Cottage, Town End Street, served India 1 year, Mesopotamia 9 months, died of cholera at Basra 6.7.16.

Godalming Museum ©2013



Return to The People's Gallery or First World War