Arthur Purnell

Bank: National Provincial Bank of England

Place of work: London Lincoln's Inn branch

Died: 1 July 1916


Arthur Channing Purnell was born in Ryde on the Isle of Wight on 19 March 1881, the son of John and Emily Blandford Purnell, who ran an upholstery business. John died when Arthur was still a boy, and Emily continued the business on her own.


In May 1898, when Purnell was 17 years old, he went to work for National Provincial Bank of England as apprentice at its Birmingham Horsefair branch. After completing his three-year apprenticeship he stayed on as a clerk, and in April 1904 moved to London office. In June 1914 he was appointed cashier at London Lincoln's Inn branch.


Outside work, Purnell was an enthusiastic sportsman. He was a Thames rowing champion, and a member of the bank's staff sports club. He was also a territorial soldier in the Honourable Artillery Company.


In September 1914 Purnell joined the Public Schools Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment, and was soon commissioned, initially as a Second Lieutenant and later as a Captain. He became a brigade bombing officer in August 1915. He was killed when in charge of a special bombing party on 1 July 1916, the first day of the Somme campaign. He was 35 years old.


Arthur Purnell is commemorated on a bank war memorial held at NatWest Group Archives

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