Name: Rupert Goodwin
1886 - 21st August 1918
Place of Birth: Arlesey
Regiment: Labour Corps (The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment))
Buried: South side of new part, Arlesey St. Peter's Churchyard. Arlesey, England
Person(s) placing the cross on behalf of the Arlesey Remembers You Project: Joshua Preston
Rupert Kitchiner Goodwin was born in late 1887 as the youngest of nine children born to George and Susannah Goodwin of Paradise Row, Arlesey. Known now as Davis Row, Rupert’s wasn’t the only family on the street as his Uncle John was the proprietor of the Stag Inn further up the street, living there with his Aunt Martha and several cousins.
The young Rupert lived with his parents for much of his short life, and by 1911, he was working at the Arlesey Brick Company and still in the same house in the street that was, by then, known as Davies Row.
In 1915, Rupert married Millicent May Presland, and had apparently fathered two children before he enlisted into the army at Hitchin in February 1917. Private Goodwin originally joined the Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment before being transferred to the Labour Corps in France. Formed in January 1917, the Corps was initially manned by soldiers rated below the “A1” condition needed for front line services, and Pte Goodwin spent nine months in France before he was passed as “A1” and was transferred to the West Yorskshire Regiment and sent to Italy.
It was the 11th Battalion of the W. Yorks Regiment that served in northern Italy in 1917 which was, ironically given Rupert’s middle name, part of “Kitchener’s New Army”, and took over the front line at Montello in December 1917. In 1918, they were in action during the fighting on the Asiago Plateau and the Battle of Vittorio Veneto, including the passage of the Piave and the Monticano.
While in Italy, Rupert spent some time with another soldier from Arlesey, Eli Page, with whom he had worked at Arlesey Brick Works. However, he fell ill and spent time in a convalescent camp before being allowed home on leave in August 1918. It was the first time Rupert had been home since enlisting the previous February, but within a few days of returning to Arlesey, Pte. Goodwin was suffering with double pneumonia and pleurisy. Despite the best efforts of the local and military doctors, he passed away on 23rd August aged just 30 years old.
Private Goodwin was afforded a military funeral before being buried in St. Peter’s Churchyard. The funeral was well attended by friends and family with no less than ten Goodwins listed as mourners in the Biggleswade Chronicle, along with representatives from his wife’s family, the Arlesey Brick Company and local churches. There was also a memorial service at the Primitive Methodist Chapel in Arlesey.