Arthur Percival Hatfield was born on 28 September 1890 in York, the fifth son of the Reverend Thomas Shiers Hatfield and his wife Frances Mary Hatfield. He matriculated at Durham University in Michaelmas term of 1909 as a member of Hatfield Hall, and was awarded a B.A. in Arts (Mathematical and Physical Sciences) two years later on 21 June 1911, having satisfied examiners with a 4th class. He achieved a second B.A. degree a year later, this time Theological Honours, also 4th class.
Whilst at university, Arthur was highly involved in extra-curricular activities. Notably, he was Senior Man of Hatfield Hall, while studying for his second degree in 1911-12, as well as captain of the college’s Rugby Football Club, the first captain of the Hockey Club and a Fives player. He was also Hatfield’s representative for the Durham Union of Students, and an active member of the college’s Debating Society.
After leaving Durham, Arthur was ordained a deacon in 1913 and subsequently appointed to St Peter’s Church in Nottinghamshire. During Advent of 1914 he was ordained a priest at Southwell, and a year later, on 14 April 1915, he married Caroline Hilda Ross at Inverness Cathedral.
Arthur was gazetted Chaplain to the Forces on 27 February 1916, initially attached to the Manchester Regiment. He travelled widely during his military career, serving with the Salonika Army on the Struma Front in August 1916 before proceeding to Egypt and Palestine in September 1917 with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. In June 1918, he briefly served with the Indian Army in Mesopotamia. During a debate in his university days, he had objected that the “engines of war become more terrible as time goes on. Do we realise that they are meant to destroy our fellow creatures?” But it was to one of the most ancient features of war that he fell victim to: his death, at Amarah on 9 July 1918 was due to malarial fever, contracted while on active service. It has been estimated that 1.5 million soldiers were infected with the malaria parasites during the conflict, with a 0.2 to 5% fatality rate: the major epidemics occurred in Macedonia, Palestine, Mesopotamia and Italy, in three of which theatres Hatfield served within a three year period. He is buried in Amarah Military Cemetery, and his name is included on the memorial to the Royal Army Chaplains' Department on the Royal Garrison Church of All Saints in Aldershot, as well as on plaques displayed in his church of St Peter in Nottingham and in the chapel of Hatfield College.