Person NameMesser; Arthur Albert (1863-1934); Colonel; architect, technical adviser and officer commanding Graves Registration Units
ForenamesArthur Albert
Epithetarchitect, technical adviser and officer commanding Graves Registration Units
SourcePhilip Longworth, The Unending Vigil, (Barnsley: Pen & Sword Books Ltd., 1967); CWGC Archive, WG 466; O’Moore Creagh & E.M. Humphris, Distinguished Service Order 1886 - 1923, (London: J.B. Hayward & Son, 1978)
Biographical NoteColonel Arthur Albert Messer FRIBA was an English architect and the Commission's Technical Adviser as well as Assistant Director of Graves Registration & Enquries and later, Director of Graves Registration & Enquiries.

Arthur Albert Messer was born on the 24 December 1863. In September 1914, Messer joined the British Red Cross Service and went to France with an Ambulance Car. Later, he became Sir Fabian Ware’s deputy in the Red Cross Mobile Unit. Messer was commissioned into the British Army in February 1915 and was appointed as the Officer Commanding the newly established Graves Registration Units. He was prompted to Temporary Major in February 1916 and then again to Acting Lieutenant-Colonel in December 1916. In June 1917, Messer was awarded the Distinguished Service Order.

He was then appointed Assistant Director of Graves Registration & Enquiries in France in December 1917, then becoming Director of Graves Registration & Enquiries in December 1918.

In January 1919, Messer was created CBE (Military Division) and then later, in August 1919, he resigned his appointment and returned to his private practise (Tubbs, Messer and Poulter, Surveyors and Architects). He was later awarded the Chevalier, Legion d’Honneur.

From February 1920, Messer was appointed as the IWGC Technical Adviser for small cemeteries in Switzerland, Holland and Scandinavia. As part of the budgetary cuts made by the Commission, he was made redundant from the Commission in March 1925 but remained part-time on an ‘expenses only basis’.

In 1927, Arthur married Lilian H. Dowling.

Colonel Messer died on the 14th April 1934, aged 70. He is buried in Brookwood Cemetery.


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