Arthur was educated at Campbell College, Belfast; at Trinity College, Dublin, and at Queens College, Belfast, qualifying L.R.C.P. & S.I., L.M. on 14th February 1905. On 31st July 1905 he took up a commission with Army Medical Services at the rank of Lieutenant. From l907 - 1912 he served in South Africa, during which time, on 31st January 1909 he gained promotion to the rank of Captain. In 1904 he became a specialist in Midwifery & Gynaecology.
Arthur entered the war in France on 16th August 1914 with the 1st Division, H.Q. Division, Royal Engineers. On 10th November 1914, the Assistant Director of Medical Services [A.D.M.S.], 1st Division, ordered the Officer Commanding of the 1st Field Ambulance to send an officer to relieve Arthur from this post, and in exchange Arthur would join the 1st Field Ambulance. On 2nd April 1915 he was acting as adjutant and was commanding “A” Section when he was transferred for temporary duty at the Assistant Director’s office. He was transferred again on 19th June 1915 for temporary duty during the absence of the D.A.D.M.S. on leave, and again on the 5th July 1915. He returned to No 1 Field Ambulance on 31st July from the Base. On 8th August he was detailed by the A.D.M.S. for sanitary duties, but on 10th October became unwell, complaining of a pains in his head, back and legs. By the 12th October he was feeling better but not ready for duty. On the 18th he was granted 8 days leave in the UK. During this time, on 15th October 1915, he was promoted to the rank of Major. Arthur returned to the 1st Field Ambulance on 25th October 1915, and assumed command of the unit, in the absence of the Commanding Officer on leave. Orders were received on the 10th November from the Director of Medical Services [D.M.S.], 1st Army, for Arthur to take up the appointment of Deputy Assistant Director of Medical Services, 19th Division. He left the 1st Field Ambulance the following day.
Arthur kept the appointment of D.A.D.M.S. until 25th March 1916, when he became the Commanding Officer of the 102nd Field Ambulance. From 25th March 1916 to 7th February 1918 he served under the rank of temporary Lieutenant Colonel. During this time, from 1917 - 1918, he transferred to serve with No 11 Casualty Clearing Station.
From 17th January 1919 to 26th June 1919 he served under the rank of acting Lieutenant Colonel in the appointment of A.D.M.S. at Headquarters, Southern Command. He was awarded the French Order of Agriculture Merit, 4th class on 7th October 1919.
From 1919 to 1920 he was the Officer in Charge of the Surgical Division of the Military Hospital, Devonport. He then took up the appointment of Officer Commanding Military Families Hospital, Devonport from 1921 to 1924. From 1924 to 1929 he became the Officer Commanding the Military Families Hospital in Abbassia, Egypt, and on 4th June 1929 gained promotion to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. From 1930 to 1933 he returned to the UK as the Commanding Officer of the Cambridge Hospital, Aldershot, then in 1933 went abroad to India, becoming the Commanding Officer of the Connaught Military Hospital, Poona in 1934, and the A.D.M.S. at HQ Lahore District from 1934 to 1937. During this time on, 1st May 1934, he gained the rank of Colonel, backdated to the 4th June 1933.
Arthur retired, with pay, on 11th April 1937, and ceased to be on the Roll of Officer from 11th April 1940. He was the son of Rev. Canon R Irvine, D.D., R.D., vicar of St Stephen’s, Belfast, and Francis, the daughter of R Stewart M.D.; and was the husband of Sara Evelyn Gertrude, daughter of Colonel H Adair-Hall of Sherwood Foresters and Cheshire Regiment. [Photograph from 'Methodist College, Belfast 1868 - 1938' courtesy of Nigel Henderson]