Arthur was born in 1880 in School Cottage, Colliery Row, Houghton-le-Spring to Thomas, a schoolmaster, and Mary Tate. He had seven siblings: Flora; Ethel Mary; Frank William; Ruth Mary; Ada; Elsie; and Clarice.
Arthur attended Armstrong College and graduated in 1901 with a BSc in chemistry, gaining an MSc in 1909. While working as a teacher in Newcastle, he also worked in the college laboratories in the evenings and on Saturdays. After his appointment to the science mastership at Pontefract Grammar School, he continued his experimental investigations and became a Fellow of the Chemical Society. He also worked at Countess of Warwick School, Dunmow (1903-1905); King’s School, Pontefract (1905-1910); and the City of Norwich School as Assistant Master when war broke out. His last known address was 1 Bathurst Road, Unthank Road, Norwich.
Shortly before joining the army, he married Emma Eliza Shorten, a mercantile clerk, in Norwich in 1916. Arthur was wounded on 12th April 1917 during the Arras Offensive and died from his wounds ten days later on 22nd April 1917 in the 45 Casualty Clearing Station, France.