b. 02/02/1882 Birmingham. d. 27/07/1944 Birmingham
Arthur “Titch” Vickers (1882-1944) was born at 7 Court, Woodcock Street, Aston, Birmingham on 2nd February 1882. His father, John, was a strip brass caster, and his mother was Amy nee Kennedy. John and Amy married on 4th April 1874 at St Laurence Church, Birmingham, Warwickshire. Arthur had six siblings, with three older brothers, a younger brother and two younger sisters.
Arthur was educated at Dartmouth Street School, Aston. He enlisted on 29th May 1902 and served for six years. He was then employed as a brass carter and later by General Electric Company at Witton, Birmingham 1908-14. It took him six attempts to re-enlist on 12th August 1914, having been rejected due to his height, which seems unusual given his previous service. He was nicknamed “Midge” or “Titch”. Arthur was posted to France with his Battalion on 4th May 1915.
On 25th September 1915 at Hulloch, France, during an attack by his battalion on the first line German trenches, Private Vickers on his own initiative, went forward in front of his company under very heavy shell, rifle and machine-gun fire and cut the wires which were holding up a great part of his battalion. Although it was broad daylight at the time, he carried out this work standing up and his gallant action contributed largely to the success of the assault.
At the time of his VC award, he was living with his sister, Amy in Park Road, Aston. The VC was presented to him by King George V at Buckingham Palace on 15th January 1916. He was later promoted to Sergeant and served in the Territorial Force / Army post-war. He was a member of the VC Guard at the interment of the Unknown Warrior on 11th November 1920.
Arthur married Lily Agnes nee Price on 29th April 1922 at St Peter & St Paul Church, Aston. He was still living with his sister at the time. Lily was previously a warehouse girl, and was living with her parents at 49 Beales Street at the time of the marriage. They had one child – Arthur Herbert Vickers, born in 1923, though tragically he lived only a couple of months and died later that year. Arthur was working as a core builder at the time of their marriage. From 1935, he was a millwright’s mate at Messrs Lucas Ltd and later in life in collected glasses in a public house.
Arthur died of carcinoma of the stomach and pulmonary tuberculosis at City Hospital, West Heath, Birmingham on 27th July 1944. He was buried in an unmarked grave in Witton Cemetery; it was marked with a headstone by Birmingham City Council on 13th November 2000.
In addition to his VC and Croix de Guerre, he was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal 1914-20, Victory Medal 1914-19 and George VI Coronation Medal 1937. His medals are held by the Royal Warwickshire Regiment Museum, Warwick.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: ROYAL WARWICKSHIRE REGIMENTAL MUSEUM, WARWICK.
BURIAL PLACE: WITTON CEMETERY, BIRMINGHAM.
Two photographs of Arthur "Titch" Vickers VC from the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Cemetery Plan courtesy of Kevin Brazier
SECTION 161, GRAVE 47760
The medals of Arthur Vickers at the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers Museum, Warwick (July 2015)
Small Heath, Birmingham
Hall of Memory, Birmingham (Feb 2016)
War Illustrated, 4th December 1915