Arthur Samuel Joys was born in about May 1884 in the parish of St Nicholas, Rochester, Kent.
On 7 November 1904, Arthur joined the Royal Army Medical Corps (Attestation service number 130). At this time he had resided in the Parish of St Johns, Chatham, Kent. Arthur was aged 20 years and 6 months, he was single and had worked as a labourer. His service records show his next of kin were: Step father Charles Edward Wright of 4 Caroline Row, Ordnance Place, Chatham, Kent and brother and/or brothers Charles William Bertie. Arthur was 5 feet 6 inches tall, with brown hair, a fair complexion and blue eyes. He had tattoos on both forearms.
At the time of the 1911 Census, Arthur was still serving in the Royal Army Medical Corps (registration district number 641). The census shows he was based in England on ED, Institution or Vessel: South Africa.
Arthur’s medal index card shows his date of entry into World War 1 as the 27 August 1914. He served as a private regiment number 19546. Arthur served at No 6 Stationary Hospital. This hospital was based in Le Havre from December 1914 to May 1916; Frevent from June 1916 to August 1918.
The Base Hospital was part of the casualty evacuation chain, further back from the front line than the Casualty Clearing Stations. They were manned by troops of the Royal Army Medical Corps, with attached Royal Engineers and men of the Army Service Corps. British hospitals were generally located near the coast, they needed to be close to a railway line, in order for casualties to arrive and they also needed to be near a port where men could be evacuated for longer-term treatment in Britain. There were two types of Base Hospital, known as Stationary and General Hospitals. They were large facilities, often centred on some pre-war buildings such as seaside hotels.
Arthur changed unit on 7 October 1917, possibly to the 2/3rd London Field Ambulance. He died on 4 July 1918, whilst serving with them. At the time of his death his regiment were involved in the diversionary attack at Gommecourt, one of the Battles of the Somme. He was buried in Aubigny Communal Cemetery, Aubigny-en-Artois, Departement due Pas-de-Calais, France, pot IV. J. 26.
Arthur was awarded the 1914 Star Medal, British War Medal and Victory Medal. These medals were affectionately known as Pip, Squeak and Wilfred all three medals are worn together and in the same order from left to right when viewed from the front. When the WW1 medals were issued in the 1920’s it coincided with a popular comic strip published by the Daily Mirror newspaper. It was written by Bertram J. Lamb (Uncle Dick), and drawn by the cartoonist Austin Bowen Payne (A.B. Payne). Pip was the dog, Squeak the penguin and Wilfred the young rabbit. It is believed that A. B. Payne’s batman during the war had been nicknamed “Pip-squeak” and this is where the idea for the names of the dog and penguin came from. For some reason the three names of the characters became associated with the three campaign medals being issued at that time to many thousands of returning servicemen and they stuck.
References and links:
British Army WWI Medal Roll Index Card 1914-1920
Find a Grave Index for Burials at Sea and other Select Burial Locations, 1300s-Current
Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929
Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919
Long long trail