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Kent Remembers: Arthur Du Boulay

Monday 7th November 2022

Men’s First Team

Born: 18.6.1880, Chatham. Died: 25.10.1918, Fillieres, France.
Kent 1899. Kent Cap (no. 50), 1899.

A solid defensive batter, capable of scoring quickly when necessary, Arthur Du Boulay’s career in the Royal Engineers left little time for first-class cricket but his debut for Kent against Somerset at Bath was probably unique in that he scored 49* in each innings.

He followed with 58 at Trent Bridge and in his five matches only once failed to reach double figures, ending his Kent career in Canterbury Week with 33 and 27 against the Australians. For good measure, he added the wicket of Victor Trumper.

As was customary at the time in the case of amateurs who played in the Week, he was awarded his County Cap.

The son of an RE Colonel, Arthur Du Boulay was in the Eleven at Cheltenham from 1895 to 1897 and captained in his final year when he scored over 300 runs and claimed 33 wickets. In August that year he played for Kent Second Eleven against Sussex at Tonbridge.

In 1898 he entered the Royal Military Academy where he distinguished himself by sharing the annual Silver Bugle Award by winning the 100 yards, quarter mile and Marching Order races as well as heading the batting averages.

In the following year, he headed both batting and bowling. More important, he received the Sword of Honour and was commissioned without taking his finals.

When duties allowed, he was a prolific run getter for Army sides.

For the Royal Engineers between 1900 and 1912 he scored almost 3,000 runs including ten centuries at an average of around 40 and took 86 wickets.

In 1905 he hit 204, 153 and 175 in one week. Playing for the School of Military Engineering against the Royal Navy and Royal Marines in 1907 he scored 402*.

He represented the Army in the annual match against the Navy at Lord’s from 1908 to 1910. 1908 saw a brief return to county cricket with three games for Gloucestershire.

He was a member of I Zingari and played occasionally for MCC. His last first-class match was MCC v Notts at Lord’s in 1910.

Du Boulay’s distinguished Army career commenced with service in Ireland and continued in South Africa from 1902 to 1904 where he participated in the later stages of the Boer War earning the Queen’s South Africa Medal with four clasps.

Promoted Lieutenant, his subsequent postings included Assistant Instructor in Fieldworks and Adjutant to the First London Divisional Engineers.

Shortly after the outbreak of War, Du Boulay was appointed DAA & QMG to 1st London Division and was in the same post with the rank of Captain with 33 Division when they crossed to France in 1915.

Du Boulay served with the Division during the Battle of the Somme and was three times Mentioned in Despatches.

He subsequently served on the Divisional staff and later with V Corps.

By June 1918 he had risen to Assistant Quarter Master General, Third Army with a DSO, two further Mentions in Despatches and the rank of Major ( Brevet Lieutenant Colonel).

He was still with Third Army when he died in hospital in the influenza epidemic. He received his sixth Mention in Despatches posthumously as well as the Croix de Guerre and the Belgian Order of Leopold.

He is buried at Fillieres and commemorated in Leckhampton church, on the Cheltenham War Memorial and in All Saints Cheltenham.

Four of his brothers saw service in the Great War; one was killed in 1916 in the Battle of the Somme.

In 1909 he married Lady Blanche Laura Hornung, cousin of EW Hornung who was brother-in-law of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and creator of Raffles the amateur cricketer/burglar. There was one son. His nephew Hubert Webb won a Blue at Oxford in 1948 and hit a memorable 145* against Cambridge.

Profile adapted from Derek Carlaw’s ‘Kent County Cricketers: A to Z, 1806-1914’

Previous profiles of Kent Cricketers that fell during both World Wars include:

Colin Blythe

Gerry Chalk

Arthur Du Boulay

Eric Hatfeild

Kenneth Hutchings

David Jennings

Lawrence Le Fleming

Geoffrey Legge

Lionel Troughton

George Whitehead