Le Cappelain, Arthur H

Arthur Henry Le Cappelain (aka Capplan) was born in 1880 at St Brelade, Jersey and was fourth of seven children to William James Le Cappelain and Melvina Jane (Piton) of South View, St Brelade’s Bay.

Melvina died of Peritonitis on 15th December, 1894 and was buried in St Brelade’s Churchyard.

Authur joined the army in about 1900 and took part in the South African war (1899-1902). In the 1911 census he was a Lance Corporal serving with the 2 Battalion Gordon Highlanders stationed at Cawnpore, India and his trade was a tailor.

At some point after that he left the army and became engaged as military tailor, in the employ of the government, to the 5th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers at the Flint Castle Territorial’s Headquarters, and was lodging at 34, Halkyn Street, the residence of a Mr Samuel George.

When the war broke out he considered it his duty to re-join his old battalion and travelled to Aberdeen to enlist.

They were posted to France and landed on the 7th October, 1914.

He wrote a letter to Mr George, dated Saturday, 24th October, 1914, which contained more interesting intimations than any which had been previously received in Flint.

He stated that he was getting along all right “through all the hell and fire. These last three days have been awful. We thought we were in hell: it was hot. We have lost a lot, but they (the Germans) have lost more. The only thing we have to fear, more or less, is their shrapnel fire. It is awful. This is what most of the men have been wounded with. As for their rifle fire, they are painful shots. The beggars are very quiet. They get up trees and haystacks, and all sorts of things, and fire on us. They are too cowardly to face us and “have it out.” They are beginning to feel the bite of the British now. I don’t think it can last very long, as some of the prisoners we have captured are very glad, as they are starving – living on black bread, etc. We are only about 200 yards from their trenches. We have been having a lot of rain and our trenches are half full of water, which makes things much harder; but for all that I think we have them on the move, and we are advancing. We have been doing a lot of marching lately – marching day and night, with only a couple of hours rest, and then at it again. We don’t know what it is to have our boots off, and it is such a long time ago since we had them off. Well I must say that I think myself very lucky at being here today, and able to write these lines after what we have come through these last few days; and the amount we have lost. It was sickening at times as we went along jumping over dead bodies, etc. But, you don’t think anything of it at the time. They (the Germans) don’t like the bayonet; and the Uhlans are a most cowardly lot. We have the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers in our Division. They sent their goat home a few days ago, as the one in the 7th Battalion was killed, as I dare say you know.” The letter concluded with the expression that he was looking forward to returning to Flint again soon.

On 14th June, 1915 Mr George received a letter from Private Capplan’s sister stating that she had received from the War Office intimation on the 5th instant that he had been killed in action on 16th May. Arthur was known to many friends in Flint and who were sorry to hear the sad tidings of his death.

He was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal and Clasp.

He has no known grave but is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial, Pas de Calais, France (Panel 39 to 41) and on the Roll of Honour at St Brelade, Jersey.

Learn more about the other soldiers on the Flint Memorial

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