Lieutenant Arthur John MOTYER
Canadian Field Artillery
Date of birth: 2 September 1886
Date of death: 15 September 1916
Killed in action aged 30
Buried at Sunken Road Cemetery, Contalmaison Plot II. B. 9.
Arthur John was born in Hamilton, Bermuda. His father, Ephraim Motyer, born in Bridport, Dorset in 1856, later emigrated and became a building contractor in Bermuda.
After being educated locally, he went to Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, Canada and graduated with a degree in Mathematics. He came to Christ Church in 1909 as a Rhodes Scholar – the first from Bermuda – and read Physics. His education continued at McGill University where he studied electrical engineering.
Arthur John travelled widely. Sailing lists show him leaving Bermuda in 1902, 1905, and 1908 for St. John’s, New Brunswick, or Halifax, Nova Scotia, and in 1909, 1911 and 1913 for New York. At the time of the 1911 Canadian Census, he was living in Hamilton, Ontario.
Before the war, he served with the King’s Colonial in England for two years, and with the 2nd Dragoon Guards in Canada for a year. He joined up at Quebec on 26 September 1914. Having served in the ranks, he was commissioned with the rank of Lieutenant in the 2nd Brigade Canadian Field Artillery, as a communications expert.
On 22 May 1915 The Royal Gazette, Hamilton published the following:
PRIVATE A. J. MOTYER
A rumour has been in circulation during the past week, starting as such rumours do, from what source no one knows, to the effect that Private A. J. Motyer had been taken prisoner.
It is gratifying to know that his parents have by this mail, received a card from him, dated April 25th saying "Quite well". It would spare much pain and anxiety to those with friends at the seat of war if more caution was observed in the repeating of unfounded rumours.
He was killed at Contalmaison on September 15th 1916 whilst helping lay a telephone wire down on top of a wall. When he was shot a man from the Red Cross went up on the wall to rescue him. He, too, was shot and killed. Another man went up and brought down both bodies.
His only brother named his son Arthur, and Arthur followed in his uncle’s footsteps by gaining a Rhode’s Scholarship.