Awards & Titles:

Polar Medal 1929-31 Clasp
Mentioned in Despatches
1914-15 Star
British War Medal
Allied Victory Medal
Naval Long Service & Good Conduct Medal
Silver Jubilee Medal

Early Life :

With grateful thanks to Paul Nutton, Secretary of Zetland Lodge, whose contribution to this legend is well received.

Arthur John Williams was born to Ebenezer, a confectioner, and Eliza Williams. The 1901 census show the family living at 7 Anstey Road, Alton having previously lived in Bath and migrating to Hampshire from the Gloucestershire area. By 1911 the family had moved to 12 Normandy Street, Alton and Arthur is now working as a Clerk at the Wey Iron Works, Alton.

He married Winifred in 1919 at Alton.

His portrait image is sourced from Trove.

Service Life:


Unit / Ship / Est.: HMS Victory 

Action : War Survivor 

Although many perished in times of national conflict and in the service of their country, many more survived including those interned as Prisoners of War. Stories of those who did survive are included as part of this site, especially those with high gallantry awards, those included against an external rolls of honour and those who had a distinguished career in wartime and military leaderhip.

Detail :

Arthur participated in the First World War, having enlisted as a "Boy" in 1913 (when 18) and enjoyed a long career until retirement 1st September, 1936. Ser. No. Portsmouth J/13558. It is believed he went on to join H.M. Coast Guard 20 August 1937, being based on the Isles of Scilly. For his service in the Great War he was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

"Arthur J. Williams served as a Petty Officer Telegraphist in Discovery during both voyages of the British, Australian, New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition 1929-31 (BANZARE). Bronze medals with this clasp were awarded to 22 members of the expedition, including Sir Douglas Mawson (London Gazette 1 May 1934 refers)."

Some of his service medals are documented having been auctioned more than once:

"A Scarce Polar Expedition Pair to Petty Officer Telegraphist A.J. Williams, Royal Navy Polar Medal, G.V.R., 2nd ´Crowned Head´ type, one clasp, Antarctic 1929-31, bronze (P.O. Telegraphist A.J. Williams., R.N.); Royal Naval Long Service & G.C., G.V.R., 2nd type, with non-swivel suspension (J-13558 A.J. Williams P O Tel. H.M.S. Victory), contact marks to the latter, therefore good very fine or better (2) Estimate £ 1,600-1,750 Polar Medal London Gazette 1.5.1934 Petty Officer Telegraphist Arthur J. Williams, Royal Navy, took part in the British Australian New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition (BANZARE) 1929-31 on board Discovery, to explore the unknown area of Antarctic coastline between Kaiser Wilhelm II Land and Coats Land, a stretch of approximately 2,500 miles. Discovery, under the command of Sir Douglas Mawson, left Capetown 19.10.1929 and travelled south, reaching a latitude of 65° 41´ S 16.12.1939. For the rest of the summer vast tracts of the frozen continent were charted, with the assistance of a seaplane, including a range of mountains which was named after Captain R.F. Scott, RN. Due to a shortage of coal, Discovery left the Antarctic 26.1.1930, reaching Australia to re-fuel 31.3.1930. Discovery left Hobart 22.11.1930 on a second voyage south of the 65th parallel, continuing from where she had left off the previous summer, and charting further lengths of the coastline. Again, a shortage of coal required the ship to return to Australia, leaving the Antarctic 19.2.1931. P.O. Telegraphist Williams was one of 22 officers and men to receive the Polar Medal in Bronze for Antarctic 1929-31; a further 16 officers and men were awarded the medal for the first voyage Antarctic 1929-30, and 18 officers and men were awarded the medal for the second voyage Antarctic 1930-31."

For further resource see: BANZARE Expeditions 1929-31.

In addition to his "Pip, Squeak & Wilfred, BWM and Victory Medal, LS&GC and Polar Medal he was also in receipt of the 1935 Jubilee Medal

He also participated in the Second World War: Naval Serial No.: D/J 111651 (Devonport) and is listed in the London Gazette: Mentioned in Despatches 14th September 1943 (page 4075). Following the Second World War it is believed that he went on to own Hairdressing salons, first in London between 1945 and 1950 and then in Eastleigh between 1952 and 1964.

Masonic :

TypeLodge Name and No.Province/District :
Mother : Zetland No. 515 E.C.Malta

23rd June 1921
23rd October 1921
12th December 1921

Arthur was initiated into Freemasonry in Malta whilst stationed there in 1921. He is listed as a Petty Officer in the Lodge's entries in the Ledgers of the United Grand Lodge of England.

His certificates have been gifted to the Lodge and show his progress through various masonic orders:

Grand Lodge Certificate (ID 5136) 14 March 1922, Zetland Lodge 515, Malta.
Mark Certificate (88633) 27 March 1922, Keystone Mark No. 107, Valletta, Malta.
Royal Arch Certificate 1 December 1922, Resurrection Chapter 515, Valletta, Malta.
Royal Ark Mariner Certificate (17747), 27 March 1922, Hospitallers Lodge, Valletta.

Source :

The project globally acknowledges the following as sources of information for research across the whole database:

Additional Source:

Last Updated: 2021-09-25 12:22:13