Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Sparke, Arthur Eric -

(No photo available)
Died on September 22nd 1917
Age 18

Newspaper Report:


An inquest was held at the helmshore Blue Ribbon Club on Monday afternoon with reference to the death of Arthur Herrick Sparke (18) woollen weaver, youngest son of Mr. William Sparke, general labourer, of 40 Alden Road, Helmshore.

The father said two months ago deceased was medically examined for the Army.  He suffered from hip disease and weak nerves.  He was passed only C3, and after that became very depressed, though he never threatened to take his life.  He followed his work except for a fortnight at the beginning of this month, when he was attended by Dr. Stewart.

Private Percy Sparke, of the Leicester Regiment, who was over on leave, said on Friday night of last week he slept with the deceased, his brother.  The latter appeared to be rather restless, but witness went to sleep.  During the night deceased woke witness, and witness asked him what he was eating. Deceased said, "An apple."  Witness again went to sleep.  In the morning deceased was missing.  Witness searched for him, and found his body in Alden Reservoir.  Deceased was fully dressed, except for cap and scarf.

In reply to a juror (Rev. A. Winfield) witness said at first he thought deceased had gone to enlist, and that caused him to at first make enquiries at Bury and Haslingden.

The coroner (Mr. Haselwood) said in his opinion deceased drowned himself.  We had plenty of people doing everything they could to keep out of the army.  In this case deceased seemed to have become depressed because he could not get into the army.

A juror asked if the lodge was fenced.  Another juror, Mr. Hartley Kinder, said it was not only fenced, but the fence had spikes, and it was nearly impossible to climb the fence.

The Coroner said if the jury had any doubt as to the condition of deceased's mind, let them by all means say that he drowned himself whilst of unsound mind.  It was a case in which they might err on the right side if at all.  There are, he added plenty of people making excuses to keep out of the army, but deceased seems to have taken it to heart that he could not get in.  That was a spirit to be the more admired, especially in these times. It was the more merciful to say deceased was not of sound mind.

A verdict that "Deceased drowned himself whilst not of sound mind" was returned.

Newspaper Memorials:

In loving memory of a dear son and brother, Arthur Eric Sparke who died September 22nd, 1917.

"Two years have passed. Oh! how we miss you,
Some may think the wound is healed;

Friends may think that we forget you
If at times they see us smile.
But they little know the sorry
That the smile hides all the while.

Forget him? No, I never will,
I loved him in life, I love him still,
From memory's pages, I'll never blot,
Three little words, "Forget-him-not."

Deeply mourned by his mother, father and brothers, Alden Road, Helmshore.

"We who loved you sadly miss you,
As it dawns another year;
In our lonely hours of thinking,
Thoughts of you are ever near."

From his sorrowing Parents and Brothers, Alden Road, Helmshore.