Rank:


Private

Service No(s):


Regiment:


Colorado National Guard

Unit:

United States Army

Returned:

Yes

Place of birth:

Islington, Middlesex

Occupation:

Clerk

Date of death:

Cause of death:

Grave or panel reference:

Name of father:

Joseph Trebilcock

Name of siblings:

Julia Emily; Ethel; William Victor; Elsie Ada

Name(s) of children:

Died:

No

Date of birth:

10/01/1896

Place of enlistment:

Denver, Colorado, USA

Event:

Age at death:

Cemetery or memorial:

Other memorial:

Name of mother:

Louisa Mary Adelaide, nee Jacka

Name of spouse:

Gladys Alice Frances, nee Welland

Address:

1911- 36 Avenell Road, Highbury

Biography:

A small number of soldiers listed on the commemorative plaques served not with the British military, but with their allies; Arthur Trebilcock is one of these, serving in the US Army, though he later returned to England and settled in Stroud Green.

It’s not clear whether Arthur was already a member of the New Court congregation before the war. He was baptised at St Thomas in Finsbury Park in 1899, and throughout his childhood his family lived further away than many of the soldiers, at 36 Avenell Road, Highbury. His father, Joseph Trebilcock, born in Newlyn in Cornwall, was a carpenter and joiner; his mother Louisa Mary Adelaide, nee Jacka, a dressmaker. He had four siblings: Julia Emily; Ethel; William Victor; and Elsie Ada. In the 1911 census Julia and Elsie were shop assistants; Ethel aged 28 was ‘at home.’

In May 1915 Arthur emigrated to the United States on board the SS New York from Liverpool, and, following in the footsteps of his brother William, he settled in Central City, Colorado. In London he had worked as a clerk in a shipping office; perhaps that helped with the costs, though he still travelled steerage.

The United States entered the First World War in April 1917, and on 18 May the Selective Service Act was passed authorising a temporary increase in the number in the military. It was a local responsibility to draft men for military service, but the draft was carried out on the same day across the country. The first registration, on June 5 1917, was for all men between the ages of 21 and 31, which included Arthur and William. Arthur was living in Denver, Colorado, at the time and working for BL James M&M Company as a clerk. He was enlisted as a Private in the Cavalry of the Colorado National Guard and the registration document shows that he had, on 22 May 1917, already taken the first step towards becoming an American citizen. Presumably he would not otherwise have been registered.

Unfortunately there are no records of Arthur’s military service though we know that he was in California with the Army from October 1917 until at least July 1918 when he applied to complete the process of naturalisation. His address was given as Camp Kearny, San Diego County, one of 32 new camps created by the Army in 1917 as a mobilisation and training facility for troops.

Given that the war ended only four months later and it would have taken some considerable time to travel from the west coast of the United States to Europe, it may be that Arthur didn’t see active service. However, on 2 July 1918, a certificate of naturalisation was issued and Arthur became an American citizen, renouncing, as did all new citizens, ‘allegiance and fidelity to his former country’. Normally the process took a minimum of five years, but there could be special consideration for veterans, which perhaps explains why Arthur didn’t have to wait so long.

We don’t know when Arthur was demobilised, but it seems he returned to England soon afterwards as in the first quarter of 1919, in Islington, he married Gladys Alice Frances Welland, who lived very close to New Court Chapel at 28 Wray Crescent. Gladys’ brother, Herbert Charles William Welland, is another of those on the plaque commemorating the soldiers who returned.

Perhaps it was intended that Gladys should go to America with Arthur, but that doesn’t seem to have happened. In the 1930s they still lived locally, at 116 Hanley Road. Later they moved to Essex, where Arthur died in 1983.

By contrast, Arthur’s brother William, already a US citizen by the time he was drafted in 1917, remained in America for the rest of his life. He was drafted for World War Two in 1942 at the age of 45, and lived in California until he died in 1960.