One of the most loyal former members of Bognor Boys’ Club has passed away.
Best-selling author Max Arthur died of leukaemia earlier this month. He was aged 80. He had attended every one of the reunions of the club’s members to relive his youth growing up in Bognor Regis.
He came to public prominence with his second book, Forgotten Voices of the Great War (2002), and followed that two years later with Forgotten Voices of the Second World War (2004).
Fellow boys’ club member and reunion organiser Frank Enticknapp said: “I had known Max since 1952. He was a quiet but keen Bognor Boys’ Club boy. That’s how I would sum him up.
“He attended, without exception, every one of the reunions we have held and there have been about 12 of them. He would certainly have been at the reunion we will be holding in July.
“He was a very keen footballer and he was the boys’ club captain in 1957.”
Mr Arthur was born in Bognor Regis in 1939 and attended the secondary school in Westloats Lane.
He left as soon as he could and worked on a building site. He was in the last quota of men called up for National Service and joined the RAF.
While in its ranks, he gained five O-levels and briefly became a teacher and went to medical school. By the 1970s, he was a self-employed painter-decorator in London. He next became an actor and had minor roles on television, including Doctor Who and Grange Hill.
A resident of North London, he returned to his great love of football and it was on the 20th anniversary in 1978 of the Munich air disaster which involved Manchester United players and staff that he had the idea of recording the voices of the survivors.
He self-published the resulting book in 1983 and, recounting the idea to a member of the Special Boat Service, was encouraged to repeat it with servicemen’s stories in their own words.
Mr Enticknapp said: “Forgotten Voices of the Great War was on The Sunday Times’ bestseller list for both hardback and softback.”
He was awarded the OBE in 2013 for services to military history.