Arnold, Ralph Irving (Second Lieutenant, b.1888 - d.1916)

Accession Number AWM2017.550.2
Collection type Private Record
Record type Collection
Measurement Extent: 1.5 cm; Wallet/s: 1
Object type Letter
Maker Australian Imperial Force
Cannan, James Harold
Place made Australia: Victoria, Melbourne, Egypt: North Egypt, Tel el Kebir, United Kingdom: England, Greater London, London
Date made 1916; 1936
Access Open
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Item copyright: Copyright expired - public domain

Public Domain Mark This item is in the Public Domain

Copying Provisions Copying permitted subject to physical condition

Collection relating to the First World War service of 754 Second Lieutenant Ralph Irving Arnold, 2nd Light Horse and 15th Infantry Battalion, Egypt and France, 1916.

The collection consists of eight documents:
- Battalion Orders Part One dated 23 March 1916 by Commanding Officer of the 15th Battalion Lieutenant-Colonel James H Cannan. These orders, issued at Tel-el-Kebir, announce the commissioning of Private Arnold to Second Lieutenant.
- There is also a letter dated 2 September 2017 written by Lieutenant-Colonel Cannan to Ralph Arnold's father. The letter praises Arnold's qualities as an officer, and describes the circumstances of his death.
- The last letter is dated 6 May 1936 and is addressed to Ralph Arnold's sister, Joyce Arnold. The letter, from AIF Base Records Office, advises that the remains of Second Lieutenant Ralph Arnold have been recovered and identified by a team from the Imperial War Graves Commission.
- Two Sympathy booklet, made by Ralph Arnold father
- Two Postcards, one with a message to the men of the 1st Light Horse
- Greeting card from the Camel corps with an annotated photograph showing allied troops on camel back on the inside

Ralph Irving Arnold enlisted in the 2nd Light Horse Regiment on 12 December 1914 at Toowoomba. Aged 26, he embarked at Brisbane on 9 February 1915, trained in Egypt, and arrived on the Gallipoli Peninsula on 9 July. He served on Gallipoli for six months, transferring afterwards from the 2nd Light Horse to the 15th (Infantry) Battalion. He was commissioned from Private to Second Lieutenant in March 1916, and attended a school of instruction promotional course in Egypt. Ralph Arnold's two brothers, Aldous and Geoffrey Arnold served also; Aldous in the Camel Corps, and Geoffrey, a doctor, with the Medical Corps.

Second Lieutenant Ralph Arnold arrived in France in June 1916. Only two months later he was killed during an attack of the enemy trench system just north of Pozieres on the night of 8/9 August 1916.

Second Lieutenant's father, Richard Aldous Arnold, Clerk of the NSW Legislative Assembly, made repeated enquiries for further information regarding the circumstances of his sons death and place of burial. It was not until 1936 that the Imperial War Graves Commission were able to identify 2nd/Lt Arnold's remains. He was exhumed and reburied at London Cemetery Extension, High Wood, Longueval. Arnold's identity disc, found with the remains, and which established his identity to is also held in the Australian War Memorial's collection.