Arthur James Langley 1897-1996


GG (Great Grandad) with his first Great Grandson Kyle James


Arthur James Langley or Jimmy to many was born on the 27th November 1897 in Kings Lynn, Norfolk. He grew up in the dairy in the Highgate area of Kings Lynn later becoming a dairy man before joining the Royal Horse Artillery shortly after the outbreak of World War One. After the first World War he joined the Merchant Navy where he worked as a wireless operator after training with Marconi. He was in the unique position of serving and surviving throughout both World Wars.

This website is dedicated to furthering his memory by sharing his memoirs of his experiences throughout these conflicts.

After the war he left the Merchant Navy in 1949 to work at Bolton and Paul's then West Norwich hospital retiring in the 1960's. After retiring he spent many years looking after his wife Gladys who was suffering with Alzheimers. A much loved Father, Grandad and Great Grandad he died peacefully in his sleep on 21st November 1996.


I never heard a word said against my Dad, he was a wonderful, kind, gentle man with a wicked sense of humour.  Even at over 90 years old he was shopping for the elderly neighbours in his sheltered accommodation! As for his wicked sense of humour – I was called to the local A & E as he had fallen over in the street, when I entered the waiting room there was Dad with blood on his face and when he saw me he raised his arms in front of his face and cried “Don’t hit me, don’t hit me” mind you he had a grin on his face as he said it!

How I came into being I don’t know, what with his chequered life in the First World War and his time in the Merchant Navy through the the Second.

My Dad Arthur James Langley (Jimmy to my Mum) had the misfortune to serve in the two world wars. It was a miracle that he survived the wars, let alone being shipwrecked in the Bahamas in 1929. I was fortunate to have many years with a wonderful and mischievous man who died just 6 days before his 99th Birthday. 

His Second World War memoirs were first written as letters to my Mum. I believe he kept these letters hidden under his bunk due to censorship only handing them on at the end of the war. As for the First World War my Dad didn’t speak much about it until he was in his eighties and then the horrors came back in the form of nightmares. I thought it would help him to write it down and the reader will find it rather disjointed as memories came back in no particular order.

I do remember Dad telling me that when he found the postcards in the village, unknown to him at the time, he was actually behind enemy lines!

Poppy Harper (nee Langley)


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