Private Arthur H Warner BEM

06 Jun 1944

  • British Empire Medal

Arthur Henry Warner was the son of John Edgar and Elsie Warner; husband of Betty May Warner (Cockerell), of Coventry, he enlisted in the General Service Corps and volunteered for airborne forces.

In May 1940, aged 16, Arthur H Warner, a Butcher’s Assistant, joined the Auxiliary Fire Service, in Coventry, as a Messenger.

He was recommended for the British Empire Medal by the Chief Officer of Coventry Fire Brigade for “Assistance to firemen and message carrying during heavy raid on Coventry on 14 and 15 November 1940. (Night)”

Copy of report by his Patrol Officer, A. E. Wood:

On the night of 14 November, 1940, Messenger A. Warner was detailed as messenger to a crew despatched to the Ordnance Works. On his way he put out several incendiary bomb fires at the rear of the General Wolfe.

Acting in the capacity of a fireman he was several times soaked to the skin. After a while he ran a pump which was unmanned until S. S. Harper detailed a fireman to relieve him. He was then ordered to try and telephone his Station and report to his crew. He was leaving the box, unable to contact, when the blast of a bomb collapsed the box on top of him. Only the fact of the box covering him saved him from serious injury.

As the raid went on and on the pump began to run short of petrol, so Warner was detailed to report back to his Station for food and petrol, and for himself to rest and obtain a change of clothing. Ignoring the bombs which were dropping dangerously close he set out for the Station. As I was out at the time on several house fires in the district he cycled around until he had contacted me. He was sent back to the station with orders to detail another messenger to take over his duties, while he dried himself and took a rest. Finding no messenger on duty willing to go he decided to go himself. He continued on to zone headquarters, obtained petrol, called back at the station, and picked up the food which had been prepared ready for him, and cycled back to the Ordnance Works. This means that while the raid was at its highest, he travelled nearly fifteen miles through districts that were receiving heavy bombing.

After reporting back to his crew, he once more carried on with his duties helping the firemen. He was very soon afterwards detailed to report to Central Fire Station that S. O. Harper was injured, and no longer able to take charge of operations. He at once set out with the other messenger on the crew for Central Fire Station and reported to S. O. Boissonade.

Soon after reporting back to his crew his bicycle was destroyed when a bomb blew up the car against which he had placed the cycle. He carried on with the crew until they were relieved, and arrived back at the Station, after being out for 13 ½ hours.

Private Warner successfully completed parachute training at RAF Ringway on course number 74, from 23 July to 3 August 1943. His course report stated “A very good man, very helpful in team”. He was posted to HQ Company, 8th Battalion, the Parachute Regiment, and took part in Operation Overlord (Normandy).

Pte Warner was killed in action on 6 June 1944, aged 19, and was given a field burial at Butte de la Hogue and re-interred to Ranville War Cemetery, Calvados, France, on 27 August 1945.

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By Rod Gibson

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