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Capt Arthur de Bells Adam (MC)
1885 - 1916


CPL David Wallace Crawford
1887 - 1916


Lce-Corpl John Joseph Nickle
1894 - 1916


Pte 17911 Morton Neill
1897 - 1916


Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft
1883 - 1918
Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft

Capt Arthur de Bels Adam (MC)

  • Age: 31
  • From: Gateacre, Liverpool
  • Regiment: The King's (Liverpool Regiment) 18th Btn
  • K.I.A Saturday 1st July 1916
  • Commemorated at: Thiepval Memorial
    Panel Ref: P&F1D8B &8 C.

Arthur was born in Gateacre, Liverpool on 23rd November 1884 the son of Mr. John Adam and his wife Harriet Sarah (nee Glynn). He was the grandson of Walter Glynn and nephew of J.B. Glynn, managing director of the Warren Line. He had four brothers, John Isabel, William Glynn, Charles and Walter De Bels

The 1901 Census shows Arthur as a 16 year old student , born at Gateacre, Liverpool living with his father at Belle Vale Cottage, Wambo Lane, Woolton, Liverpool. His father is shown as a married 44 year old Wool Broker born in 1857. Arthur's mother is not present in the household. There are however, a domestic housemaid and a cook.

The 1911 Census shows the family, minus Arthur who was away on business, are living at Brook Meadow, Childer THornton, Hooton, Cheshire. His father is shown as John Isabel a wool broker born at Liston in 1857 whilst his mother Harriet Sarah is shown as having been born at Broadgreen, Liverpool in 1863. Alos present in the household are Arthur's two brothers; John Isabel junior and Charles. There are also 4 servants resident at the property. 

Arthur was a partner in his father’s firm (Messes. J.L. Bowes & Bro), spending time in the USA and India representing the company.  An example of this being when he is shown as a passenger on the ship City of York sailing from Liverpool to Karachi on 08th March 1911.

Arthur was interested in outdoor sports and was the secretary of the Royal Rock Beagles as well as being a member of two packs of Otter Hounds, wining the Cheshire Beagles point-to-point race in record time on three occasions.

Arthur had been a Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve for four years previous to the outbreak of the War and only been retired from the RNV from 1913 due to business.

Arthur enlisted at St George's Hall on 31st August 1914 as Private 17238 in the 18th Battalion of The King's Liverpool Regiment. He is described as being 5'8 tall and weighing 137lbs. He was discharged to commission the day after he enlisted. 

He landed in France with the 18th Battalion on 7th November 1915, he was awarded the MC for the action in January 1916  when the enemy made a bombing raid in strength, Captain Adam along with his men gave the Germans a warm welcome forcing them to retreat badly beaten and with larger casualties then the 18th suffered. Joe Devereux in his book "A Singular Day on the Somme" writes:

On the night of 28/29 January 1916 (the night of the Kaiser’s birthday) Captain Adam was instrumental in repulsing a German trench raid. For his part in the action he was awarded a Military Cross. The award was published in King George V’s birthday honours list on 3 June 1916. The citation states,

 ‘For gallant conduct and forethought in repelling a German raid on the saps near Carnoy on the night of 28/29 January 1916 - the attack was repulsed and the bodies of six Germans fell into our hands.’

The Regimental History of the Liverpool Regt records the action as follows.

'On the 29th the enemy attacked the 18th Battalion. Throughout the 28th the German guns had bombarded the front line, and at 1a.m. on the 29th his artillery again opened fire. At 2a.m. Captain Adam reported to Battalion Headquarters that rifle-grenade and trench-mortar bombs were raining on his forward trenches and saps. Half an hour later the left sub-sector and sap were attacked by about 100 Germans, some entering a disused trench (No. 50), whilst others got into the saps behind the sentries. But preparations against an attack had already been made, and owing chiefly to the steadiness of the men, the attack was dispersed within a quarter of an hour by rifle-grenades and rapid fire, the divisional artillery assisting. The enemy appeared to be a picked body of bombers from two Prussian infantry regiments (62nd and 63rd). They left six of their number with the King’s men - two killed and four wounded, including an officer who wore the Iron Cross ribbon; he died of his wounds later in the day'




The first attack of the Somme July 01 1916, Montauban:

While the 17th & 20th Battalions moved swiftly with low casualties this was not the case for the 18th, a German Machine Gun post at Alt Trench was aimed at their ranks and slowed down their advance.  The gun was also protected by snipers firing from Train Alley and also bombers in Alt Trench, hidden by a tree hedge. Captain Adam already wounded, probably from sniper fire, lead his men out of the trench and forward against the Germans. He was wounded again when about 30 yards from the hedge. His runner, Private F S Haslam who was also wounded himself, ran forward and dressed his wounds, but a grenade thrown by the Germans behind the hedge killed Captain Adam and further wounded Private Haslam. The example shown by Captain Adam led to the German position being taken, as was the Galtz Redoubt and ultimately Montauban was captured.

His Colonel's report stated that it was due to this gallant officer and his insight that the fortunes of the terrible day went with the British troops. At a critical moment of the conflict when the Germans held an advantage it was the action of Captain Adam that solved the problem and disposed of an enemy post that had held up the advance. Captain Adam was killed at the moment of his success. 

Arthur's body was not recovered or was subsequently lost as his name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme. He was 31 years of age.

His death was reported in the Liverpool Echo on 07th July 1916:

"News has been received in Liverpool of the death, in action, of Captain Arthur de Bels Adam, officer the Liverpool Pals." The late Captain Adam was a son of Mr. John I. Adam, senior partner in the firm of J. L. Bowes and Brother, woolbrokers, and was himself a junior partner of that concern. He joined the Army at the outbreak of war, and was one the first officers appointed to " the Pals." Being a thorough sportsman and a man of high character, he attained great popularity in his regiment.
He went France with the first draft of "Pals" and had seen much hard fighting. Some time ago he was awarded the Military Cross for his gallant and resourceful conduct.
He was home on leave about a month ago, and the news of his death will be received with keen regret throughout North Wales, where he was particularly well known as an ardent sportsman.
For many years Captain Adam was whipper - in to the Royal Rock Beagles, and a few years ago he won the Cheshire Beagles Point to Point of seven miles in 40 minutes, thus setting up -a record which still, stands.
The late Captain Adam was about 27 years age. His brother, Lieutenant Charles Adam is an officer in the same battalion of the "Pals"," and was severely wounded in February last. He has only recently been transferred a hospital in London from the base at Rouen.
Captain Adam was a grandson of Mr. Walter Glynn, and nephew of Mr. J. B. Glynn, managing director of the Warren Line"


Arthur is also commemorated on the following Memorials:

St Paul's Church, Hooton

Balliol College, Oxford 

Exchange Newsroom, Exchange Flags, Liverpool and Hooton, Childer Thornton and Little Sutton Civic Memorial.



His brother Charles was severly wounded in the action on 29th January 1916 in which Arthur won the Military Cross. His brother John Isabel was killed in action on 10th May 1918 serving with "A" Bty. 307th Bde of the Royal Field Artillery.  He was 29 years of age and now rests at Vieille-Chappelle New Military Cemetary at Lacouture, France where his headstone bears the epitaph:

"JOY COMETH IN THE MORNING" 

He is also commemorated on Hooton, Childer Thornton and Little Sutton Civic Memorial and Liverpool Ramblers Football Club, Crosby. 

He is also remembered in the Liverpool Scroll of Fame

LIEUTENANT John I. Adam served his country in several fields. He was educated at Rossall, and afterwards entered business with the firm of Messrs. Powell, Bacon & Hough, Shipowners. He was twenty-six years of age when war broke out, and in two days he was a member of the country's forces - on August 6th, 1914, he joined the Mechanical Transport, and ten days later was in France. He was quickly promoted to the rank of sergeant, and for the first six months of the war served with the First Corps transporting ammunition. Then he was sent home - February, 195 - to take up a commission, joining the Royal Field Artillery, and training at Hove and Aldershot.

   The period of training over he went with a draft to Egypt, and here he served until the spring og 196, when he proceeded to the fever-laden region comprising the Salonika front. What he endured there may in part be gathered from his letters. One dated August, 1916, says:- "I have been up on the Bulgarian frontier for some time, and the battery was in action a few hundred yards from the Struma marshes, which teem with malaria. Ninety men out of 130 in the battery got fever, including the major and one subaltern. I and the other sub. stuck it although both ill. He recovered, but I got temperatures of 106, and got so weak I had to chuck my hand in. I came down country on a stretcher."

   Lieutenant Adam quickly recovered from fever, but immediately fell a victim to jaundice, and in September was invalided home. Three months of sick leave followed; then a course of study ending in his passing examinations with distinction; then another term in France, where he was on duty in March, 1918. A few weeks later he met his death in one of the most nerve-testing experiences that fell to the lot of artillerymen at the front. An ammunition dump in the Lillers region was set on fire, and Lieutenant Adam, gallantly trying with his men to put out the flames, was killed by the exploding shells. Thus at the last he gave yet another magnificent example of "playing for his side," just as he had when a member of the Liverpool Ramblers' Football Club and as a Polo player at Hooton.







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