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Arthur Haigh Postal Cover.png

No. 2866 Private Arthur Haigh of the Grenadier Guards was something of an inconsistent soldier to say the least. He was born about 1872 at Clifton, Yorkshire to John J. Brown a tailor and Martha Haigh. He chose to enlist under the name of Arthur Haigh and it could be that John Brown was his stepfather or perhaps Arthur chose to enlist under his mother's maiden name as an alias.

His service papers list only his mother - as Mrs. Martha Brown - and his two brothers Fred and Herbert Haigh. Again as both brother are mentioned as having the last name of Haigh there seems to be a good possibility that John Brown was in fact their stepfather. Prior to enlisting with the regulars he was a member of the 1st Volunteer Battalion of the Prince of Wales Own (West Yorkshire) Regiment.

Arthur attested with the 3rd Battalion the Grenadier Guards on 9 February 1891 at London. Appointed lance corporal on 10 October 1891 he was granted his first good conduct pay on 5 February 1893. He may not have had enough time to spend that good conduct pay (or perhaps in spending it he got himself into trouble) because on 30 March 1893 he was awaiting trial by court martial and was convicted of conduct to the prejudice of the regiment and sentenced to 14 days imprisonment, reduced to private and forfeited of his good conduct pay on 10 April 1893. He returned to duty on the 24th of April only to desert on the 20th of June. Missing from the ranks for the better part of six months, Haigh rejoined on 1 December 1893. The records are unclear as to whether his rejoining was voluntary or due to being appended. Tried and convicted for this infraction he was sentenced to 56 days imprisonment on 7 December 1893 with all former service forfeited. Returning to duty on 1 February
1894 after spending well over the stated 56 day of his sentence in the goal. It may be safe to assume that he incurred other infarctions while locked up that added additional days to his time behind bars.

The next entry on his Statement of Services shows him being granted good conduct pay on 1 February 1896 before being transferred to the 1st Class Army Reserve on 7 December 1896. He remained in civilian life until being recalled to active duty with the 2nd Battalion, the Grenadier Guards on 26 December 1899 during the Anglo-Boer War. He service must have met with his officers' approval since on 20 February 1900 he had all formerly forfeited service time restored to him  and was granted his 2nd good conduct pay on 13 August 1900. Old bad habits seem to die hard and he lost his good conduct badge for unspecified reasons on 25 October 1900 and like a bouncing ball it was returned to him on 25 October 1901. The rest of his record in free of black spots and he was discharged on 13 March 1903.

For his 2 years, 136 days of service in South Africa against the Boers Arthur Haigh was entitled to the Queen's South Africa Medal with three clasps: "Cape Colony", "Orange Free State" and "Transvaal" along with the King's South Africa Medal with its standard two clasps.

Arthur Haigh turns up again in 1911 when was employed as a sergeant of the Yorkshire Metropolitan Police. The census lists him as a widower but no records showing the name of his wife or when they may have been married have turned up. I have also been unable to determine exactly how Arthur Haigh was related to the letter's recipient, Mr. P. Haigh although one might assume that they were closely related.

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