- Born 16 October 1891
- Died 22 August 1915
- Won three England caps
Known as “James/Jimmy” or “Mud”, Arthur James Dingle was born in Hetton-le-Hole, County Durham, one of four children of the Reverend Arthur Trehane Dingle, and his wife Beatrice.
He was educated at Durham School, becoming Head of School in 1910, and then went to Keble College Oxford. After university he returned to Durham School as an Assistant Master.
His sporting prowess at school extended to cricket, rowing and gymnastics, but it was at rugby that he made his mark.
He was an Oxford blue in 1911 and played regularly for Richmond and Rosslyn Park in London, but his main love was with Hartlepool Rovers (Captain 1914) and Durham County, scoring four hat-tricks of tries for the latter in one season.
He was rewarded with three England caps, one in 1913 and two in 1914. His one in 1913 was away to Ireland, where the four points that England conceded were the only ones in a season that brought the first of their two consecutive Grand Slams.
During his short time as a master at Durham School he founded the Officer Training Corps. Within a few days of the outbreak of war he enlisted with the East Yorkshire Regiment eventually being posted to its 6th (Pioneer) Battalion. By August 1915 they were in the Dardanelles at Gallipoli, where Dingle was appointed Officer Commanding ‘B’ Company.
The campaign had become deadlocked, so allied forces landed at Suvla Bay early in August 1915. From the start the campaign was badly mismanaged though the 6th Battalion did make early gains, but these were soon lost when a change of attack was ordered.
A short period of trench warfare then ensued, followed on 21/22 August 1915 by one final push in an attempt to break the stalemate. Dingle, with his battalion, was to attack Scimitar Hill in a bid to unite the allied forces across the peninsula but this, the largest battle of the Gallipoli campaign, failed, essentially ending any hope of an allied victory.
In the aftermath of the battle Arthur Dingle was posted as missing presumed killed. Contemporary accounts say that he was shot in the head, but he could not at the time be moved from the trenches. His body was never recovered.
Captain Arthur James Dingle is remembered on grave panel 51-54 of the Helles Memorial, and also at Durham School, St Margaret’s Church, Durham, Keble College and the family grave at St John the Baptist church, Egglescliffe. His rugby clubs at Richmond, Rosslyn Park, Hartlepool Rovers all have memorials, as does Oxford University RFC.
He is also the subject of Epitaph 1 in “The Ballad of Suvla Bay” by John Still. He did not marry. His parents lost their other son, Hugh John Dingle, at the Battle of Jutland.
For more information on the Rugby Football Union’s First World War commemorations, click here
For details of the other 26 fallen England players, click here.