John Arthur Lee

John Arthur Lee

Personal Details

John Arthur Lee was born in Whitchurch in 1897. He was the second son of Leonard and Anne Lee of 27, High Street, Whitchurch.

John was studying at Ardingly College, Sussex when he enlisted in 1915 aged 18. He gained a commission in the 3rd Battalion King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, and joined the 5th Battalion in France in July 1916.

John was the brother of Eric Hanson Lee, who died three days later on 19th September 1916.

Military Details

Regiment : 5th (Service) Battalion King’s Shropshire Light Infantry
Rank : Second Lieutenant

Killed in Action; France 16th September 1916 Age 19

Medals and Awards
John was awarded the Campaign Medals (British War Medal and Allied Victory Medal)

Campaign Medals

Great War History Hub Whitchurch Shropshire Medals Front Image

The British War Medal (also known as 'Squeak') was a silver or bronze medal awarded to officers and men of the British and Imperial Forces who either entered a theatre of war or entered service overseas between 5th August 1914 and 11th November 1918 inclusive. This was later extended to services in Russia, Siberia and some other areas in 1919 and 1920. Approximately 6.5 million British War Medals were issued. Approximately 6.4 million of these were the silver versions of this medal. Around 110,000 of a bronze version were issued mainly to Chinese, Maltese and Indian Labour Corps. The front (obv or obverse) of the medal depicts the head of George V. The recipient's service number, rank, name and unit was impressed on the rim.

The Allied Victory Medal (also known as 'Wilfred') was issued by each of the allies. It was decided that each of the allies should each issue their own bronze victory medal with a similar design, similar equivalent wording and identical ribbon. The British medal was designed by W. McMillan. The front depicts a winged classical figure representing victory. Approximately 5.7 million victory medals were issued. Interestingly, eligibility for this medal was more restrictive and not everyone who received the British War Medal ('Squeak') also received the Victory Medal ('Wilfred'). However, in general, all recipients of 'Wilfred' also received 'Squeak' and all recipients of The 1914 Star or The 1914/1915 Star (also known as 'Pip') also received both 'Squeak' and 'Wilfred'. The recipient's service number, rank, name and unit was impressed on the rim.

Further Information

Chester Chronicle 30th September 1916

Report in the Chester Chronicle 30th September 1916 regarding the deaths of Eric Hanson Lee and his brother John Arthur Lee

"Mr. Leonard Lee, who lost his wife only recently, has now sustained a fearfully heavy blow. Both sons have been killed in action. On Tuesday he received news that his second son, Second Lieutenant Arthur Lee of the K.S.L.I, had been killed on an advance, and on Thursday that his eldest son, Second Lieutenant Eric Lee, had died from wounds. They were only 19 and 20 respectively. The sad bereavement has called forth the sympathy of every one in the district."

Chester Chronicle 30th September 1916

The History of the KSLI

An excerpt from The History of the KSLI in the Great War 1914-1918 by Major W de B Wood, regarding the death of John Arthur Lee.

"On 16th September 1916 after being relieved by the 6th Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry and having eleven hours' rest in the Montauban area, the battalion was again in the trenches in relief of the King's Royal Rifle Corps. An order which was received to capture Gueudecourt having been cancelled and the battalion being relieved, it marched back to the camp from whence it started on the 15th. The casualties for the 16th September were 2nd Lieutenant J.A. Lee, and 2 other ranks killed and 8 other ranks wounded."

The History of the KSLI in the Great War 1914-1918 Major W de B Wood

If you can provide any further information on John Arthur Lee please get in touch by leaving a comment below, using our Contact Form or by calling in to Whitchurch Heritage Centre.

Information provided by Terry Evanson Whitchurch, Shropshire and Whitchurch Museum and Archives

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