Menu ☰
Liverpool Pals header
Search Pals

Search
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). who were married on the 06th June 1882 at St Peter’s Church, Woolton. John was a 25 year old wool broker, his father was recorded as merchant William, whilst Sarah was aged 19, father Walter, a ship owner. He was the son-in-law of Walter Glynn of the Warren Line (sailed mostly Liverpool to Boston, but also made calls at Halifax and Philadelphia).Arthur had four brothers, John Isabel, William Glynn, Charles and Walter De Bels.

On the 1891 census the family are living in Harrison? Cottages, Mambo Lane, Little Woolton. Arthur's father John Isabel is aged 34, a wool broker born in Lisbon, Portugal, his mother, Harriet Sarah, is aged 28, born in Liverpool. They have five children in the household; William Glynn 7, a scholar born in Liverpool, the remaining children were born Childwall, Arthur De Bels 6, John Isabel 3, Charles 1, and Walter De Bels 1 month. The family also employ three servants and a nurse. 

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. They have a domestic housemaid and a cook. Arthur's mother is not present in the household as she and William Glynn are boarding with the Griffiths family at 1 Esplanade, Penllyn, Criccieth. 

The 1911 Census shows the family, minus Arthur who was away on business, are living at Brook Meadow, Childer Thornton, Hooton, Cheshire. His father, aged 54, is shown as John Isabel a wool broker born at Lisbon in 1857 whilst his mother Harriet Sarah is shown as having been born at Broadgreen, Liverpool in 1863. They advise that they have been married for 28 years and have had 5 children.  Also present in the household are Arthur's two brothers; John Isabel aged 24, in shipping, and Charles aged 21, a wool broker. 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 citation for the M.C. 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.'

Temp. Capt. Arthur de Bels Adam, L'pool R., Serv. Bn. 

(London Gazette 3rd 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 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.  He was 31 years of age.

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. 

The Thiepval Memorial, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave. Over 90% of those commemorated died between July and November 1916. 

On 01st August 1932 the Prince of Wales and the President of France inaugurated the Thiepval Memorial in Picardy. The inscription reads: “Here are recorded the names of officers and men of the British Armies who fell on the Somme battlefields between July 1915 and March 1918 but to whom the fortune of war denied the known and honoured burial given to their comrades in death.”

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 to 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.

Soldiers Effects to father John Isabel, no Pension record found. 

Probate 1916:- 
 
ADAM  Arthur De Bels of Brook Meadow, Hooton Cheshire and the City of Liverpool captain 18th  Battalion King’s Liverpool regiment died 1 July 1916 in France on active service Administration London 22 September to john Isabel Adam. Effects £2540 4s. 4d.  

Liverpool Echo 2nd July 1917 

Lost At The Somme Battle: 

To the Glorious Memory of Lieut.-Colonel E. H. Trotter, D.S.O., Captain A. de Bels Adam, Captain C. N. Brockbank, Lieut. G. M. Dawson, Lieut. B. Withy, Sec.-Lieut. N. A. Barnard, Sec.-Lieut. L. R. Davies, Sec.-Lieut. E. Fitzbrown, Sec.-Lieut. D. M. Griffin, Sec.-Lieut. G. B. Golds, Sec.-Lieut. G. A. Herdman, Sec.-Lieut. R. V. Merry, Sec.-Lieut. R. H. Tomlinson, Sec.-Lieut. T. R. Walker, and the non-commissioned officers and men the 18th (Serv.) Battalion “The King's” (Liverpool Regiment), who fell in the battle of the Somme, July, 1916. 

Arthur is also commemorated on the following Memorials:

St Paul's Church, Hooton

Balliol College, Oxford 

Exchange Newsroom, Exchange Flags, Liverpool

Hall of Remembrance, Liverpool Town Hall, Panel 16 Left

Hooton, Childer Thornton and Little Sutton Civic Memorial.

The following passage is taken from the book Liverpool's Scroll of Fame:

Capt. A. de BELS ADAM,  M.C., 
 
18th Battalion,  
 
THE  KING'S  (LIVERPOOL   REGIMENT). 
 
The toll of the war was levied in a particularly cruel degree on some families. Thus, of three sons of the late Mr. John Adam and Mrs. Adam, of Brook Meadow, Hooton, near Chester, two gave up their lives and one was wounded very severely.  
 
Of Captain Arthur de Bels Adam, M.C., it may be said that, while his life had been devoted mainly to commercial pursuits, he had all the qualities of a born soldier. Before the war he had been for five years attached to the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, retiring there from two or three years before that fateful month of August, 1914, on account of business calls. But when the war came he was one of the first officers chosen for the 18th Liverpools. Up to that time he had been engaged as partner in his father's firm, Messrs. J. L. Bowes & Bro., for whom he had travelled in the States and India at various times. He also took a practical interest in outdoor sport, and was secretary of the Royal Rock Beagles for several years, and a member of two packs of otter hounds. On three occasions he won the Cheshire Beagles point-to-point race in record time.  
 
In 1915 he went with the " Pals " to France, and in January the following year was awarded the Military Cross for the manner in which he had organised his defences and handled his men during an attack by the Germans. The enemy made a bombing raid in strength, but Captain Adam and his men gave them such a warm reception that they retired badly beaten, having far heavier casualties than the 18th. 
 
In the attack on July 1st, 1916, the Liverpool "Pals" suffered terribly. Among the killed was Captain Adam, but, as his Colonel's report showed, it was due to this gallant officer and his battle knowledge and 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. A truly glorious death ! 


His brother Charles, a 2nd Lieutenant in the 18th Battalion (Pals) 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, like his brother, Arthur, 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.

Arthur's father died, aged 62, on the 27th March 1919.  

Probates 1919:- 

ADAM  John Isabel of 11 Dale Street Liverpool and Brook Meadow, Hooton Cheshire wool broker died 27 March 1919 Probate Chester 13 June to Harriet Sarah Adam widow. Effects £53360 8s 7d.  

ADAM  John Isabel (the younger) of Brook Meadow, Hooton Cheshire lieutenant R.F.A. died 10 May 1918 in France on active service Administration London 10 November to Harriet Sarah Adam widow. Effects £100. Former Grant P.R. September 1918.  

His mother, Harriet, date of birth 20th February 1863, appears on the 1939 register at The Seven Sisters, Ellesmere Rd, Ellesmere, Shropshire. Also present are Charles and Walter. 

His mother, died, aged 81 in 1945 

We currently have no further information on Arthur De Bels Adam, if you have or know someone who may be able to add to the history of this soldier, please contact us.   

Killed On This Day.

(108 Years this day)
Tuesday 18th July 1916.
Pte 27346 John Mawdsley
34 years old

(106 Years this day)
Thursday 18th July 1918.
Cpl 106108 William Alexander Unsworth
38 years old