Not a great deal is known about Arthur John Buckney apart from his war service record. He stated on his attestation form that he was born at New Town, but it was not possible to find his birth. Based on the death notice from 1957 which mentioned the names of several siblings it is possible to determine that he was the son of William Buckney and Mary Jane Ogden.
Arthur Buckney told the authorities he was aged 24 years and that he was working as a labourer on enlistment in September 1915. At 5ft 2 Y, ins in height and of slight build Buckney was allotted to the infantry – to the 26th Battalion. After a period of training in Egypt Arthur finally joined the remainder of his battalion in France in August 1916, but just three days later he was wounded in action. After treatment for his wounds he was transferred to the 15th Battalion, another unit that had strong connections to Tasmania. In February 1917 he was transferred to the 52,d Battalion possibly to bring their numbers up to strength.
At the beginning of June 1917 the 52,d Battalion prepared for the assault at Messines. According to the battalion history, training was intensive for all troops not engaged on fatigue parties. The 52,d Battalion as part of the 13th Brigade was detailed to attack the ‘Green’ line as part of a massed attack. At 3.10am as they men waited quietly for their turn to jump over, over a twenty second period the ridge erupted skywards with the synchronised detonation of nineteen mines beneath the German front lines. Tons of earth, equipment and bodies were blasted into the sky. Those who weren’t blown off their feet described it like being on a rolling ship as it pitched in a storm. As the 52,d Battalion moved up an enemy bombardment descended on them wounding Colonel Pope and others including Arthur Buckney who was wounded for a second time. It would seem that again he was not severely wounded and by the end of the month had re-joined his battalion.
In July 1917 he was detached to the Y.M.CA. – what role he had with them is not clear from his service record. He did re-join the 52,d Battalion in mid-December 1917.
In April 1918 the battalion were at Villers-Bretonneux for the attack on Monument Wood. Arthur Buckney was again wounded in action. This time his wounds were serious enough for him to be evacuated to the military hospital at Chatham for treatment for a gun-shot wound to his forearm. Whether he had enough or was afraid of going into action again, Arthur went absent without leave from 11 am on 31 July until 10.30 am on 20 August. He was subsequently court martialled and given 20 days detention at the Lewes Detention Barracks. In September, having served his time, he was returned to France and transferred to the 42nd Battalion briefly before being transferred to the 41″ and then to the 40th as battalions were amalgamated. In May 1919 Arthur Buckney returned to Tasmania.
It would appear that Arthur Buckney found it hard to settle down after the war. He appears to have moved around and at one time lived in Victoria. According to the notice in the paper Arthur died on or about 16 December 1957 aged 66.