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DURHAM CITY

Lascelles, A.M., Lieut., V.C., M.C., 1918

Arthur Moore Lascelles V.C.

Arthur Moore Lascelles V.C.

Photo : James Pasby 1986

Portrait by Waylands

Shields Gazette Wednesday 24/08/1904

Newcastle Journal Saturday 12/01/1918

In the Dourlers Communal Cemetery is the Commonwealth War Grave of Captain Arthur Moore Lascelles, serving with the 3rd Battalion Durham Light Infantry, who died on the 07/11/1918.

Arthur Moore Lascelles [the younger son] was born at Wilby Lodge, Nightingale Lane, Streatham, London, on the 12th October 1880, to John Lascelles [Penmaen, Machynellth, North Wales, died in 1931, age 82], and Mary Elizabeth [nee Cotton] Lascelles.

[Arthur had a brother called Reginald George Lascelles who was a lieutenant in the 2nd Provisional Battalion on the 9th January 1901, served in South Africa, was in the 4th Battalion Durham Light Infantry, but who drowned at Cannanore in India in 1904, whilst serving in the 1st Battalion, Durham Light Infantry], Arthur also had an elder sister called Elizabeth Constance Lascelles who was 1 year older being born in 1880.

{He comes from a Welsh Family that has been associated for many years with the Military and Naval forces of the Crown. His Great Grandfather was General La Celles, of the Dragoon Guards. His cousin was the late Flight Commander E.R. Mackenzir?, D.S.O. of the Royal Navy killed in a aerial fight in 1916}.

In 1881, their Sister-in-Law was residing at their address, Susan Emily Cotton. then aged 23. There was also 3 servants in the house.

Arthur was educated at Hillside School in Malvern, Uppingham School, University College of North Wales in Bangor and Edinburgh University where he was studying Medicine.

In 1891, the family were living in Wales at Penmaendovey, with an additional child, Reginald George Lascelles then aged 8.

He dropped out from the University and emigrated to South Africa in 1902. Arthur got married in South Africa on the 8th December 1907, to Sophia Hardiman, [born September 1880], they had a son Reginald George Lascelles, born 14th September 1909 in Cape Town. Died on the 22nd December 1984, in Bath, Somerset.

Arthur joined the Cape Mounted Rifles as a Trooper on the 11th August 1902, and by 1910, was a Corporal. On the 30th June 1910, Arthur with his newly wedded wife arrived back at Southampton from Cape Town, travelling on the Union Castle Mail Steamship 'Tintagel Castle'. After a short visit they returned to South Africa.

On the 1st April 1913, he was transferred to the 1st South African Mounted Rifleman, where he saw service during the rebellion, and fought in the campaign in German South West Africa 1914, under the command of General Botha. When that campaign ended, he reached he rank of Quartermaster Sergeant and obtained his discharge on the 10th October 1915.

In November 1915, he returned home and was commissioned on the 28th December 1915 in to the 3rd Battalion Durham Light Infantry as a Second Lieutenant.

Between 10th January and the 3rd February 1916, Arthur was at the Officer Training Course in Cambridge. He then was attached to the 14th (Service) Battalion Durham Light Infantry.

On Monday the 18th September 1916, he was wounded by Shrapnel during the Battle of the Somme at the Quadrilateral position.

The Somme Day by Day account reads as follows:- "6th Division. At 5.50am., after a barrage, 1st King's Shropshire Light Infantry, 16th Brigade attacked the Quadrilateral and Straight Trench. With their left on the railway, they took the Quadrilateral after a brief fight in which [the] 14th Durham LI (18th Brigade) took a part. The Durhams cleared the dugouts in the sunken road beyond. The 2nd York & Lancs (16th Brigade) supported by Stokes mortar fire, had bombed in from the south-east and then assisted in carrying forward the right, linking with 56th Division at Middle Copse. Straight Trench at first defied a frontal attack by 1st West York's (18th Brigade), but the bombers fought their way to meet those of 14th Durhams, while a detachment passed over the trench near the left boundary of the Division and took the Germans in the rear, capturing seven machine-guns and 140 prisoners. The right of 20th Division sent forward a fighting patrol. During the day the enemy seemed to be concentrating on higher ground near Morval, but were dispersed by artillery fire. 5th Division began to relieve 6th Division before dark."

He was then evacuated to the UK to recover.

Arthur then returns to the front in early 1917, and then served with the 11th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry from the 6th February to the 13th May 1917. Whilst in this Battalion, he was in a Court of Inquiry with Captain Palmer, and 2nd Lieutenant Rees at Bus on the 4th April, into the circumstances of the injury to 19464, Private, George Brown. [He enlisted on the 31st August 1914, at West Hartlepool, aged 19. One of three brothers who enlisted, Private Joseph Brown, and 25073, Private Thomas Brown. His family lived at Spennymoor. George was born at 6, Armstrong Street, Monk Hesledon near Castle Eden, Durham. He originally was with the 16th Battalion Durham Light Infantry, but transferred to 'D' Company, 11th Battalion Durham Light Infantry. He also had 2 younger brothers in the Durham Light Infantry].

The Court of Inquiry examined the possibility of a self inflicted wound. 11591 Private Michael Hennessey was one of the witnesses. On the 26th February, the men were working next to each other in a new trench near Le Transloy at night. As Brown brought his shovel back, Hennessey was bringing his pick up and accidentally struck the back of Brown's hand. The wound was serious, but not regarded as likely to effect his 'future efficiency as a soldier'. [Doctors Report]. The Court was told to conclude that it was an accident. He was treated at the 14th Camp Reception Station. He died not from this wound, but was fatally injured during the German Offensive and died on the 25th March 1918.

He is remembered at Spennymoor on S131.02, S131.07 and in S131.11 page 3

. Arthur then was transferred to 'A' Company, 14th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry on the 9th June 1917, as a Company Commander.

Near Loos, he is severely wounded in the head and arm, and is awarded the Military Cross. On the 15th June 1917, 2nd Lieutenant Arthur Lascelles led a daylight raid near Loos, in the daylight mist, 40 raiders entered the German Trenches, killed 20 and took 5 prisoners. "He conducted operations throughout with great coolness and it was largely due to his fine work that the withdrawal of the whole raid was carried out without a single casualty. He was the last to leave the trench. The success of the raid was largely due to the valuable reconnaissance carried by this officer before the raid." Military Cross Citation.

On the 20th July, he is promoted to Acting Captain.

During the Battle of Cambrai, the Germans counterattacked on the 30th November 1917, which forced the British to withdraw from Masnieres on the 1st December 1917.

The Canal de St Quentin between Marcoing and Masnieres was the line held by the British, where heavy fighting took place on the 3rd December, here is where Acting Captain A.M. Lascelles was outstanding.

Citation

"For most conspicuous bravery, initiative and devotion to duty when in command of his company in a very exposed position. After a very heavy bombardment during which Captain Lascelles was wounded, the enemy attacked in strong force but was driven off, success being due to a great degree to the fine example set by thisofficer, who refusing to allow his wound to be dressed, continued to encourage his men and organise the defence.

Shortly afterwards the enemy again attacked and captured the trench, taking several of his men prisoners. Captain Lascelles at once jumped on to the parapet and followed by the remainder of his company, 12 men only, rushed across under very heavy machine-gun fire and drove over 60 of the enemy back, thereby saving a most crucial situation. He was untiring in reorganising the position, but shortly afterwards the enemy attacked and captured the trench and Captain Lascelles, who escaped later.

The remarkable determination and gallantry of this officer in the course of operations, during which he received two further wounds, afforded an inspiring example to all.".

Arthur Lascelles had said:- "My Company, ['A'] was on the right of my battalion, and the position had become so precarious that had my company given way it would have meant that the whole of the battalion would have been enfiladed and the Bosches enabled to get round to the rear".

Lance Sergeant Albert Wilson from Boldon Colliery and rifle grenadiers broke up this first attack...

"That would have resulted in seriously jeopardizing the position, and near by was a Welsh Regiment, who, let me add, have done notable work in that particular part of the front. Shortly afterward, the enemy renewed the attack, and there ensued a period of bitter fighting. There was no question of retiring-it could not be done. Very Soon the Bosche smashed my right bombing post, which enabled him to enfilade the whole of the trench occupied by my company. Two machine guns were in action, and at eleven o'clock, after an hour's fighting, the trench for a distance on the right of 250 yards was non-existent.

The trench, of a depth of only three feer, which forced us to keep our heads under the parapet, was soon reached, and several of my men were captured. By this time there were only about a dozen of us left. Do it meant neck or nothing. About 50 yards to my rear I saw a number of Germans approaching. I sent a corporal and three men to try and hold them, or otherwise the company on my left would have been attacked in the rear. Meanwhile, what now remained of my company had a go at the Bosches. I at once jumped on the parapet, and, followed by only 12 men, rushed across under heavy machine-gun fire, and drove about 60 0f the enemy back. I was, unfortunately, wounded again, being hit in the elbow just as I went over the top, but I was able to re-organise the defence. Soon afterwards the enemy attacked again and captured the trench and myself. I was in their hands for a couple of hours, and when recovered consciousness, after exhaustion, a big Hun took possession of my glasses and all I had, struck me with his fist, and kicked me. I escaped later as a result of a counter-attack by the rear, but it was due to the untiring devotion of a body of miner's, mostly from the North, with a number from the South, that we were able to hold the ground. A more heroic company of men no officer would wish to command".

His brother was employed at Spillers and Bakers at Cardiff during this time.

Following this, Arthur was evacuated back to the United Kingdom to a London Hospital.

He received his VC on the 23rd March 1918 at Buckingham Palace from King George V.

After the presentation Arthur went home to his wife Sophie and son at 9 Richmond Road, Olton, Birmingham. His wife was working in a munitions factory kitchen, he slowly recovered but his right arm was now useless.

Arthur volunteered again for further active service in August 1918. Being attached to the 3rd Battalion Durham Light Infantry. He is then transferred to the 15th (Service) Battalion Durham Light Infantry at Inchy, France on the 27th October 1918.

He was killed on the 7th November 1918 on the attack on Limont-Fontaine, between Maubeuge in France and Charleroi in Belgium.

His wife made an application for his medals on the 24th April 1919.

Note: The 2nd photograph down shows Acting Captain A.M. Lascelles, with his right arm hidden from view, whilst showing 2 wound stripes on his left sleeve.

He is remembered in Durham at D47.071 and in D47.013d page 310

He is remembered on at least 12 other Memorials in the UK.


South African Military History Society
Victoria Cross DLI story of A. M. Lascelles
The CWGC entry for Captain Lascelles

Arthur Moore Lascelles Citation London Gazette

If you know more about this person, please send the details to janet@newmp.org.uk