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Arthur William Berry worked for The Royal Parks as a gardener, and was one of the 24 staff who lost their lives during WW1. On 7th November 2018 a permanent memorial was dedicated to them and to all UK parks, gardens and grounds staff who died during the war.

100 years on from Arthur's death we spoke to his granddaughter Carol Meacher, 81, from Easy Moseley, London about his life and resting place in Brompton Cemetery.

“He had always loved gardening in his back garden at home, especially on his vegetable plot, and he had a greenhouse too.

“He started out working as a gardener in Kingston Hill and my nan worked as a maid in a big house nearby - and that’s how they met. He was a family man and loved his wife and four children."

Volunteering for duty

"Young men who were married and had a family were not the first choice to be called up by the army, but he volunteered anyway.

“He was employed by The Royal Parks at Hampton Court Palace, when the war broke out – it was a Royal Park back then. He was sent to Singapore and Ireland, and finally France.

“He was a gunner in the army. One morning an enemy plane dropped a bomb on a field and killed him and everybody he was with. He died on 25 September 2018, 100 years ago. My mum was 10 when he was killed."

A permanent memorial

“My nan would have loved to know that 100 years on my grandfather will be among those remembered by a permanent memorial stone at Brompton Cemetery.

“And it’s very important to me that his memory lives on with my grandchildren – and my great granddaughter. They should know what happened during the war and how brave all those men and women were.

“It’s important we keep their stories alive and share memories with future generations.

“I give talks about the war at schools and children are always very interested in my dead man’s penny. It’s 6 inches in diameter with Britannia and a lion on one side and my grandfather’s name on the other.

“It’s hanging on the wall and every time I see it I think of my grandfather and all those who lost their lives for us. That’s why the memorial at Brompton is so important – we must remember them.”

The Royal Parks and Royal Parks Guild World War 1 project been made possible by National Lottery players through the Heritage Lottery Fund’s First World War Then and Now programme.

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