Name of Researcher / Enw’r ymchwylydd: Geoffrey Alexander Mitchell.
Name of Memorial / Enw’r gofeb: Greenfield War Memorial.
Name / Enw: Lancelot, John Richard
Regiment/Catrawd: 5th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers
Service Rank and Number / Rheng gwasanaeth a rhif: Lance Corporal 240939.
Military Cemetery/Memorial / Fynwent milwrol: Jerusalem Memorial.
Ref No Grave or Memorial / Rhif cyfeirnod bedd: Panels 20 to 22.
Country of Cemetery or Memorial / Gwlad y fynwent neu gofeb: Israel
Medals Awarded / Medalau a ddyfarnwyd: 1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.
Date of Death: 26th March 1917
Date and Circumstances of Death / Dyddiad ac amgylchiadau marwolaeth:
John Richard Lancelot arrived in the Balkans Theatre of War with the Battalion on Sunday 8 August 1915 and was Killed in Action on the first day of the Battle of Gaza Monday 26th March 1917, aged 27 years. (Royal Welsh Fusiliers War Diaries)
(Private Joseph William Butler and Lance Sergeant George Davies who are also remembered on the Greenfield War Memorial were killed on the same day, as was Private Robert Edwards who is remembered on the Holywell War Memorial)
John Richard Lancelot was born in Holywell, Flintshire during 1890.
The 1891 Census states that the family lived at Glanadon Cottages, Holywell, Flintshire. The head of the family was John Lancelot aged 25, who was employed as a Coal Miner at the Bettisfield Colliery, Bagillt, Flintshire. His wife Sarah Ann Lancelot (nee Parry) aged 23 and their two children, Edith Lancelot aged 3 and John Richard Lancelot aged 6 months.
By 1901 the family had moved to live in Providence Court, Holywell. John and Sarah Ann now had four more children. Thomas Lancelot and his twin sister Mary Lancelot aged 9, Daniel Lancelot aged 7 and Eadie Lancelot aged 5 years.
Sometime after this the family moved again to Bryn Oer, Glan-y-Don, Mostyn, Flintshire. It was at this time that John Lancelot died and some two years later Sarah Ann re-married, The 1911 Census tells us that she now lived at Wood Houses, Greenfield, Flintshire with her new husband Robert William Barker aged 34, who was employed at a local Iron Works as a Labourer. Also living there were Sarah Ann’s children – John Richard Lancelot aged 19, who was employed at Grosvenor Chater Paper Mill, Greenfield as a Labourer. Thomas Lancelot aged 18, who was also employed at the Paper Mill. Daniel Lancelot aged 15, a Labourer, Goronwy Lancelot aged 14, who was a Mill Boy at the Paper Mill and Jane Lancelot aged 12. Sarah Ann and Robert had a daughter, Doris Barker aged 2 months.
In 1913 John Richard Lancelot married Florence May Lee (Date of Registration of Marriage 3rd Quarter of 1913 at Holywell – Vol 11b. Page No. 335 refers). They lived at 186 Gas Row, Greenfield, Flintshire. Their daughter Florence Gwyneth Lancelot was born on 26 July 1914 and their son John Richard Lancelot on 8 March 1916.
On 2 March 1915 John Richard Lancelot aged 25 enlisted at The Drill Hall, Halkyn Road, Holywell as a Private with the Territorial Service of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. His Short Service Records show that it was for 4 years service. What is interesting to note is that the witness to his Attestation was James Ayer the father of Leonard Stuart Ayer who is remembered on the Holywell War Memorial and who also witnessed David Owen Darley Davies’s Attestation.
On 14 July 1915, John Richard Lancelot embarked HM Transport Ship ‘Caledonia’ at Devonport bound for Gallipoli, arriving in that Theatre of War on 8 August 1915. Amongst the other soldiers of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers on board, many from Flintshire were his two brothers, Private 873 Thomas Lancelot aged 21 and Private 2858 Daniel Lancelot aged 22. Their cousin , Private 1381 Thomas Henry Lancelot aged 26 was also with them. They survived the war with Thomas Henry Lancelot living until 1974, aged 85 years.
Flintshire Observer 2 September 1915. Greenfield Family’s Record. The Lancelot’s of Greenfield have contributed of their sons to the Royal Welsh Fusiliers in a generous manner. Eight out of two families is no small proportion. Of the sons of the late John Lancelot, John Richard, Daniel (wounded) and Goronwy are with the 1/5th Royal Welsh Fusiliers and of the sons of Thomas Lancelot, there are also four in the same Battalion – Thomas Henry, Edward, Hugh and Robert Arthur. There are few families which can exceed such a commendable record.
The 9,223 ton S.S. Caledonia was a British passenger ship built for the Anchor Line by David and William Henderson & Company at Glasgow, Scotland. The ship was launched on 22 October 1904 and plied a tourist route between Glasgow and New York. When World War 1 commenced in August 1914, the British government requisitioned Caledonia and converted this once elegant liner into a troop ship. Post conversion, Caledonia could carry 3,074 troops and 212 horses.
As previously stated John Richard Lancelot was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of Gaza, along with many other Flintshire Soldiers serving with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers .
He is remembered too, on the Mostyn War Memorial.
County Herald – Friday 4 May 1917. War News, Greenfield. Greenfield church people are deservedly proud of the response made by their young men to the country’s call. Practically all the young churchmen are with the colours. The sad news has arrived of the death in action of Lance Corporal John Richard Lancelot of Sea View.
On 7 July 1917 a payment of £1.17s.4d was made by the War Office to Florence May Lancelot, this being monies owed to her husband John. On 20 November 1919, a further payment which is recorded as a War Gratuity of £8.10s.0d was also made to her.
There is a Flintshire Roll of Honour card him at the County Archives Office, Hawarden. It is filed with the Mostyn Cards. It gives the address Bryn Ter, Mostyn and it confirms the regimental details at the top of this page. The card tells us that he served from the 2nd March 1915 and that he served in Egypt and Palestine. The card was signed on the 27th September 1919 by Florence M Lancelot – his widow.
He is also remembered on the North Wales Heroes Memorial Arch, Deiniol Road, Bangor, Gwynedd, North Wales.
Details of his medals were obtained from www.forces-war-records.co.uk.
Many thanks to Keith Humphreys for sharing this photograph with us.