In volume 2 of Ponsonby's history of the Grenadier Guards in the Great War he tells of Arbuthnot's great bravery and death on 25 Sep 1916 at the battle of the Somme during an attack near the Ginchy-Lesboeufs road:
'The 2nd Battalion would have had a simple task but for the fact that the wire in front of them, which was in standing crops and therefore hidden, had been very little damaged by our artillery fire. There seemed no possibility of getting through it, with the Germans so close, and for the moment the whole advance of the Grenadiers was held up. Captain A. Cunninghame, Second Lieutenant G. A. Arbuthnot, Lieutenant the Hon W. A. D. Parnell, and Lieutenant A.F. Irvine at once ordered their men to lie down, and the four gallantly advancing by themselves proceeded with the utmost coolness to cut gaps in the wire. Their one thought seems to have been that the attack must not be checked on any account, and as the task of cutting the wire meant almost certain death, they never thought of sending on any of their men, but decided to do it themselves.'
Cunninghame, Arbuthnot and Parnell were killed and Irvine was wounded, but they had cut sufficient wire for the battalion to get through and achieve their first objective.
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