Sunday, September 30, 2012

Private Lamont Grave 3969

With such an unusual name I could be sure I had the right person, there was only one entry in the CWGC, one medal card and one entry for UK Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919.

I also found all the census returns, a will, service records and managed to contact a relative, all through

I went the extra step with Lamont and bought the War Diary for his battalion, it doesn't mention him by name but gives a clear picture of what his battalion experienced in the war.


Lamont Grave was born in 1891 and his birth was registered in the third quarter of the year in West Derby, Liverpool. He was christened 13th December 1891 in Edge Hill, Liverpool. His parents were William and Margaret Grave. (William Grave and Margaret Anne Lamont, daughter of Archibald Lamont, were married 2nd July 1888 in Edge Hill) The 1891 census shows that Lamont's parents and his older sister Elizabeth lived at 22 Winifred Street, Liverpool.

In 1898 on the christening record for his sister Isobel Lilian, their parents were recorded as living at 7 Upper Stanhope Street and William was a sorting Clerk.

1901 census
In the 1901 census Lamont was 9 years old and, along with his 3 sisters, was enumerated at the house of his aunt and uncle (John and Jane Wagner) at 43 George Street.

Lamont's father and 4 year old sister Lilly were enumerated in the 1901 census at 7 Upper Stanhope Street as boarders at the house of Alice Grave, a widow and probably Lamont's aunt. Margaret is enumerated as a boarder in Hurry Street, Toxteth Park and working as a laundress. They may have been separated.

Lamont's mother died on the 3rd May 1910 in Liverpool, her will shows that she left £50 which went to her youngest daughter Isobel Lilian Grave (spinster)

1911 census
In the 1911 census Lamont, his three sisters and his father (now a widower) were all at the house of another aunt and uncle, Joseph and Mary Littlar of 6 Egerton Road, Wavertree. Lamont was 19 and employed as a merchant salesman.

Lamont's attestation paper shows that he lived at 140 Alderson Road, Wavertree, He signed up on 6th Nov 1914 for 4 years with the Territorial Force and was posted to the 10th Battalion The King's (Liverpool) Regiment (The Liverpool Scottish) with the regimental number 3969.
Further information from his service records show that he was either 5ft 4and 1/2 inches or 5ft 6inches tall and weighed 130lbs and wore glasses, his physical development was good.

He embarked for France on 23rd January 1915 and joined his unit on 30th January. He went missing in action on 16th June 1915.

Lamont went missing on 16/6/1915 but it wasn't until 27th May 1916 that the War Office issued form b.2090c 'Death- acceptance of for official purposes' then on 28th August 1916 his personal effects - one identity disc - were sent to his sister Elizabeth Gladys Dutton of 140 Alderson Road, his next of kin, she also received his plaque, scroll and medals.

the probate record for his will (below) shows that he left his money (£171) to his sister Elizabeth Gladys.

Here is a transcript of the War Diary for the Liverpool Scottish on the day Lamont went missing:

On the evening of the 14th June Major A.S. Anderson proceeded to RAILWAY WOOD (Which is situated West of BELLEWARD farm and north of Hooge) from which point the 9th Brigade were to attack on the morning of the 16th. He took with him 2 men per company to act as markers & also 2 cyclists. At 4pmon the afternoon of the 15th the Battalion left the camping ground near BUSSEBOOM and proceeded via YPRES to RAILWAY WOOD.

The attack was made on a frontage of about 1000 yards, the Northumberland, Royal Scots and Royal Fusiliers were detailed to take the first line and we in conjunction with the Lincolns were to take the 2nd line, the 7th brigade being in reserve.

We were shelled rather heavily between 12:30 and 2:10amon the morning of the 16th + during this time several of our men were killed or wounded.

Our artillery bombardment started at 2/10am + carried out the work of demolition so successfully that little difficulty was experienced in taking the first and second line trenches.

Unfortunately however in continuing the advance we suffered many casualties as owing to the difficulty experienced in observing signals it was impossible to keep our shells ahead of the advancing infantry.

Although the 3rd line German Trenches were reached it was impossible to hold on to them + so the whole Brigade consolidated the 1st + part of the 2nd line German trenches, manning them until 11/20pm on the night of the 16th at which hour they were relieved by the 8th Brigade. The casualties amongst our officers were particularly heavy + of the 24 officers who went up only Lieut Wall, 2nd Lieut T G Roddick + Lieut Chevasse came back unscathed.

The work of all ranks throughout the day calls forth the highest praise, our bombing parties doing particularly good work.

The stretcher bearers throughout a very trying day did excellent work and showed great courage in attending to so many wounded under heavy shell fire. The following is an extract from a special order by Major General Haldane Commanding 3rd division published on the 17thJune

“The Major General Commanding cannot adequately express his admiration for the gallant manner in which the attack was carried out yesterday.

The dash and determination of all ranks was beyond praise and that some actually reached the objective in the first rush and remained there under most trying circumstances as a proof of their superiority over the Germans.

That the captured ground could not all be held is disappointing, more especially as the losses incurred were heavy. But these casualties have not been in vain.

The 3rd Division carried out a fine piece of work, and fought splendidly, and their commander is deeply proud of them.”

From the 17th to the end of the month the Battalion was encamped in the same field near Busseboom, Lieut L.G. Wall being in command, with 2nd Lieut T.G Roddick acting adjutant, the time being devoted to company training and route marching.


A response to an enquiry from a historian made in 1929 is included in the diary, it gives these figures:

Our records give the number which went into the section as 23 officers and 519 other ranks. Of the officers, 4 were killed, 6 missing and 11 wounded. Of the other ranks 75 were killed, 10 missing and 201 wounded. All the missing officers were afterwards reported dead and, almost without exception, the same is true of the missing other ranks. It is true that our losses were exceeded by three other battalions of the brigade but our numbers to begin with were very much less. Of the three officers mentioned in the war diary as having come out unscathed, one was Captain N.G. Chavasse, the medical officer. Of the other two, second Lieut, T.G Roddick was knocked out by a shell and lay unconscious for most of the day. He was, however, able to carry on with the Battalion until the arrival of officer reinforcements. Lieut L.g Wall was therefore the only combatant officer who came through unhurt.

It is interesting to note that the Lieutenant Chavasse mentioned was Noel Godfrey Chavasse, who was twice awarded the Victoria Cross (the second VC was posthumous) and was the most highly decorated serviceman in the first world war. If you don't know about the Chavasse family I recommend you find out about their amazing accomplishments.

Many thanks to Lynda for sharing these photographs of a family picture of Lamont.

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