Forename James William
Surname Arkell
Rank Major, Indian Army
Regiment 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles
Age 25
Death Killed in action in Indonesia
Place of Death Far East > Java
Date of Death 21/08/1946
Year of Entry 1934
Social A
School Notes
Comments A member of the VIII which won the Ladies Plate at Henley, 1938
Commonwealth War Graves Commission Link
Unit 3rd Battalion
Military Decorations MC and bar
Sport Rugby; Rowing
Album Number 21
Previous Regiment
Burial or Cemetery Indonesia > Jakarta
Archives Correspondence file in OR files in Radley Archives
Post School Sandhurst, 1938
Prep School
Prisoner of War
Radlein Obituary November 17 1946 Killed in action in Indonesia in August, I 946, James William Arkell, M.C. and bar, Major, Indian Army (Macpherson's-Paton's, A, 1934-1938). From time to time we are unhappily reminded that the embers of war still glow in the Far East where British troops are carrying out arduous and dangerous tasks to complete the Allied victory. Last August when the news came that Jim Arkell had been killed leading his Gurkhas into action against the Indonesian rebels, it was brought home to us with especial poignancy that our sacrifices are by no means over.
Jim Arkell was a born soldier and leader of men. From his earliest schooldays he stood out among his fellows as an ardent and attractive personality ready for any adventure, finding zest in the unusual and exciting, revelling in any struggle or contest, for he was happiest when his powers were being tested to the utmost. So we remember him as an exceptionally fine forward in the Rugger teams of 1937 and 1938, and a member of the 1938 crew which won the Ladies' Plate. His spirit and his energies were equal to all demands.
An Army career was clearly indicated for him and it was typical of his craving for adventure that he chose the Indian Army. Passing into Sandhurst in November 1938, he was commissioned a year later and ready to take a full share in the Burma campaigns. Here he was in his element. In skill, daring and intelligent adaptation to jungle warfare he greatly distinguished himself. and his soldierly qualities were recognised by the award of the M.C. and bar. Invalided home with malaria in 1945 he was back in the Far East as soon as he recovered; January last saw him in the thick of the troubles in Java. Lt. D. Harding (O.R.) serving with the unit of which Jim Arkell was second-in-command writes of him: "During the month I was with him in the same Mess, Jim was on the top of his form. In the interior of Java, away from the towns, Mess life sometimes gets a bit monotonous but the Mess of the 3/5s was one of the happiest I have ever been in, and this was largely due to Jim's personality."
He was killed as the result of an ambush, but the attack he led was a completely successful one. So he died, as he would surely have wished, strenuous against odds and victorious. He gave fine and unstinting service to his country and the Empire, and we are all of us the poorer for the loss of this gallant spirit.
March 16 1947.
Major M. R. R. Turner, M.B,E., writes :-
On returning from the Far East, I have just read in your issue of 17th Nov., of the tragic death in action in Java of Major J. W. Arkell, M.C., 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles.
May I add a few words of appreciation of this very able and gallant young officer, who unquestionably had in front of him a great career as a professional soldier ?
I had the privilege to serve 37th (Gurkha) Bde. in 1943-44 as Bde. Major during which time Jimmy Arkell was first Adjutant and then a Company Commander in the 315th Royal Gurkha.Rifles.
He was really outstanding as a leader of men, adored by the Gurkhas, and held in great esteem by every officer of the formation.
Victor of so many bitter tactical clashes with the Japanese in Assam and Burma, it was a deep shock to his many friends, and, most of all I’m sure, to his own very fine Battalion to hear of his supreme sacrifice in Java for the sake of his men.
Service Number 1219
Place of Birth