Thank you to Diana Penson, Arthur’s niece, for sharing information about Richard, Arthur’s father. Life story shared by Yota Dimitriadi
Arthur was born in Farington in 1886, the younger son of Richard and Clara Penson. His father was the Bank Manager of the Reading Lloyds Branch and his sister, May Penson, was a soprano and a Silver Medalist of the Royal Academy Music. Arthur followed his father’s professional footsteps and worked at Lloyds Bank, Cirencester. By 1891 the family lived at Market Place, Great Faringdon, Oxon. The family moved to Reading, possibly because of Richard’s job. The family house was at 32 Alexandra Road, though the following reference to Arthur states the number incorrectly as 34.
In 1901 Arthur was a student at The Lodge, St.Marks School for Boys, Alma Road, Clewer in Berkshire. By 1911 his address was 9 St.Margaret’s Road,Swindon,Wiltshire.
Richard enlisted in WW1 to the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry and died in action at Ovillers-La-Boisselle, Somme, on 21st July 1916. He was 30 years old. He is buried at the POZIERES BRITISH CEMETERY, OVILLERS-LA BOISSELLE, France (I. A. 37) and his grave has the following personal inscription:
BE THOU FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH AND I WILL GIVE THEE THE CROWN OF LIFE
Berkshire Chronicle (Friday 04 August 1916) reported about Arthur’s death:
“From a letter received from the chaplain, it appears that the deceased was killed instantaneously. The deceased, who was 30 years of age, joined up soon after the outbreak of war, prior to which he was at Lloyds Bank at Cirencester. He received his education at St. Mark’s School, Windsor, and Reading School’.
Arthur’s death was also reported on the Faringdon Advertiser and Vale of the White Horse Gazette (Saturday 05 August 1916) as his aunt, Miss Maria Penson still lived in Faringdon, at Westbrook Villa.
Wilts & Glos Standard (5 August 1916) also wrote :
“ANOTHER CIRENCESTER BANK CLERK KILLED IN ACTION
We regret to record the death in action on July 21st of Private Arthur Richard Penson, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, younger son of Mr J.W. Penson, Clanfield, Alexandra Road, Reading, aged 30 years. Mr Penson was on the staff of Lloyds Bank, Cirencester, when war broke out, and enlisted forthwith. This is the third member of the staffs of the Cirencester banks to be killed in action, the two former being Mr Maurice Hayward, Canadian Contingent, formerly of the Capital and Counties Bank, and Mr M.H. Taverner, of the North Somerset Yeomanry, formerly of the Wilts and Dorset Bank”.
Arthur is commemorated at his parents’ grave in Reading Old but also at the Farington All Saints’ War Memorial and at Lloyds Bank WWI Roll of Honour Memorial.
Reference to Arthur’s life is also found on the Imperial War Museum database on Lives of the First World War.
His will and probate read: Penson Arthur Richard of 9 Tower Street, Cirencester, private OBLI died 23 July 1916 in France on active service. Administration London 14 Nov 1916 to Richard Penson bank manager. Effect £589 18s 4d.
Commemorated in Section 79, Row E, Plot 9