Sams Arthur

ARTHUR SAMS (1896-1918)

4053 Private Arthur Sams, 8th Battalion, the Royal Irish Regiment was killed in action 6 September 1918 and is buried at La Grand Beaumart British Cemetery, Steenwerck, France.[1]   He was 22 years old and is commemorated on the Etherley War Memorial and the Roll of Honour in St. Cuthbert’s Church, Etherley.

Family Details

Arthur was born 1896[2] at Toft Hill the son of Daniel and Jane Sams.  There were 10 children, all born at Toft Hill:[3]

  • Ernest bc.1894
  • Robert bc.1895
  • Arthur born 1896
  • Daniel bc.1899
  • Walter bc.1901
  • Thomas bc.1902
  • Charles bc.1904
  • Mary Elizabeth bc.1905
  • Ethel bc.1907
  • Hilda bc.1909

Arthur’s father Daniel was born in Essex and his mother at Malton, Yorkshire.  He worked as a coal miner (hewer).  By 1911, 14 year old Arthur and his brothers, 16 year old Robert and 17 year old Ernest were coal miners (drivers). [4]

Service Details

Arthur Sams enlisted at Bishop Auckland into the Durham Light Infantry and was allocated the regimental number 3678.  He was transferred to the North Lancashire Regiment (No.36530) then the Royal Irish Regiment and given the regimental number 4053.[5]  His service details have not been traced therefore the date he enlisted and of his transfers remain unknown.

The 8th Battalion, the Royal Irish Rangers was a New Army (Service) battalion formerly the 2nd Garrison Guard Battalion which became the 8th Garrison Battalion 25 May 1918. The battalion landed in France in April 1918 and came under the orders of the 178th Brigade, 59th (2nd North Midland) Division before being transferred to the 121st Brigade, 40th Division 20 June 1918.[6]

In June 1918, the 121st Brigade comprised the following units:

  • 8th, the Royal Irish Regiment
  • 23rd, the Lancashire Fusiliers
  • 23rd, the Cheshire Regiment
  • 9th, the Worcester Regiment joined as a cadre
  • 121st Trench Mortar Battery

After suffering heavy losses during the Battles of the Lys, the Division was reduced down to a cadre from May 1918.  Form 23 June, the Divisional HQ was based at Renescure.  The training cadres left during the middle of the month and a number of Garrison Battalions joined and were converted to fighting units.  The Division was reorganised by mid-July 1918.

18 July 1918: the Division took part in active operations.  [7]

The Final Advance in Flanders 18 August – 6 September

The 40th Division as part of the XV Corps, Second Army took part in the engagement.[8]  The War Diary of the 8th Battalion, the Royal Irish Regiment has not been researched.

Later research records that between 18 August and 6 September 1918, the 8th Battalion, the Royal Irish Regiment lost 23 Other Ranks killed in action or died of wounds 11 Other Ranks 5 September including Private A. Sams and 11 Other Ranks 6 September.[9]

Private A. Sams was awarded the British War and Victory medals. [10]


Private A. Sams is buried at grave reference III.H.9 Le Grand Beaumart British Cemetery, Steenwerck.  It contains 553 burials, many of which were concentrated her after being brought in from the battlefields and smaller cemeteries. [11]


[1] Commonwealth War Graves Commission Note: Soldiers Died in the Great War record his date of death as 5 September 1918

[2] England & Wales 1837-1915 Birth Index Vo.10a p.256 Auckland 1896 Q2

[3] 1901 & 1911 census

[4] 1911 census

[5] Soldiers Died in the Great War




[9] Officers & Soldiers Died in the Great War

[10] Medal Roll

[11] CWGC


SAMS A. Headstone