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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

Lieutenant James Frederick Venmore (MC)

  • Age: 28
  • From: Walton, Liverpool
  • Regiment: 14 ROYAL WELSH FUS 19th Btn
  • Died on Tuesday 11th July 1916
  • Commemorated at: Dantzig Alley British Cemetery, Mametz
    Panel Ref: VI.R.1

There are landmarks in France and Belgium which will be forever associated with the names of British regiments, where deeds were performed either on the offensive or defensive which have added lustre to the standards of those regiments. Mametz Wood brings back vivid memories of the thrilling role taken by the valiant men from Wales, who, during the opening days of the first Battle of the Somme in July, 1916, fought their way through and finally conquered this stupendous obstacle which barred the progress of our arms when the Allies forces were commencing their battering of the enemy's iron wall.

These operations were a necessary part of the whole plan of the campaign, but they were extremely costly, and the Welsh Division paid a heavy price for the success they won. Thousands of heroes from the Principality fought their last fight amid the machine-gun ridden bushwood of Mametz, but they made a glorious contribution to the common victory. One gallant young officer who laid down his life in this terrrible struggle - the turning point in the whole operations of the war - was Lieutenant J. Frederick Venmore than whom there was no better known, more admired, or more valiant leader of men in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers.
Lieutenant Venmore who was only 28 years of age when he made the supreme sacrifice, was the second son of Mr. James Venmore, of "Parkside," Anfield Road, a well known and highly respected Liverpool citizen, a Justice of the Peace of the City, and an ex-High Sheriff of Anglesey. He commenced his scholastic career at the Liverpool College, passing on from there to Mill Hill School, London, and subsequently studied architecture at the Liverpool University. Taking up architecture as a profession, he was associated with the firm of Mr. T Taliesin Rees, of North John Street. Of a light hearted and cheery nature he had from his school days taken an active interest in athletics. At Mill Hill School he was captain of the Gymnastic eight, and, being passionately fond of rugby football, he played in the school fifteen, and also with the Liverpool Aliens' Club, whilst he represented his school at boxing, and had won several cups for swimming.

Immmediately on the outbreak of war he gave up the comforts of home, and sacrificed the prospects of a successful career to enlist as a private in the 3rd Battalion of the Liverpool "Pals." His ability, however was quickly recognised, and in December, 1914, he was recommended for a commissionby Brig-General Sir Owen Thomas of the 113th Brigade. He was attached to the 14th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers, and soon proved himself a most capable and popular officer, being greatly beloved by officers and men alike for his bravery and devotion to duty. He crossed over to France with his regiment in December, 1915, and quickly came to the fore as the result of several acts of bravery, which culminated in early 1916 with the award to him of the Military Cross. The circumstances under which he won this distinguished honour were officially recorded as follows:- "On the night of January 30th, 1916, Lieutenant Venmore was on duty as patrol officer in front of the British trenches in France when a sentry in the firing trench reported that three men in an advanced listening-post had been wounded. Two of these men were just able to crawl to the British lines over the barbed wire, but the third man was too seriously wounded to follow, being shot through both legs. Lieutenant Venmore volunteered to go to his assistance, and took with him a non-commissioned officer (Corporal William Williams a Carnavon man), who was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. They went out under fire over the parapet, and after great difficulty successfully brought in the man over the wire and two ditches. This brave action was succeeded by a further gallant act on the following morning, when a message was received that a man had had his arm blown off at another listening-post, practically unapproachable by dayligt. Lieutenant Venmore again undertook to go to his aid, once more taking with him Corporal Williams. They carwled across the open ground in the face of heavy machine-gun fire. The sufferer was reached, his wounds attended to, and he was subsequently brought to safety. Both the officer and the N.C.O. were most highly congratulated by the brigade and divisional officers."
In amplification of the above official report, the following extract from letters which were written concerning Lieutenant Venmore's gallantry in the field are of interest as showing the admiration of both officers and men alike:- 
A letter from Major Mills to a friend in Dolgelley contained the following: "About a week ago when my Company was in the front line I had the honour of Reporting Venmore's gallant conduct. A listening-post of three men, about sixty yards out, in front of our wire in at the worst part of the line, called, "Farm Corner" was riddled by a machine-gun, and the three wounded. Two crawled back shot in the face, arms, and chest, but the other man was shot through both legs. Venmore, who was in the post, caled for a volunteer, who was forthcoming in the shape of a Carnavon man, Corporal Williams, and they fetched him in, flares going up continously over our wire and two ditches. The following day, a whizz bang went through a dugout which had not been properly strengthened, and took a man's forearm off (his name was R.O. Hughes from Festiniog). Venmore and Corporal Williams crawled fifty yards to him, and managed to stop the bleeding, but we did not get him out till dusk- ten hours afterwards. The Brigadier congratulated Venmore."

Mr. O.W. Owen, of the Welsh Army Corps, in a letter to Lieut. Venmore's father wrote: "I have just returned from a visit to the Welsh Army Corps' troops at the front. While in France I heard very glowing accounts of brave deeds performed by your son. My informant told me that your son had within a period of forty eight-hours had been instrumental in personally saving the lives of two men, who had been stranded between the British and German lines. The act was referred to as one of exceptional bravery. I did not have the pleasure of meeting your son at the Front, but I congratulate both him and you on his splendid conduct."
A Chaplain to the forces wrote to Lieut. Venmore: "Two men of your company, Private R.O. Hughes and Private Wright, are lying side by side in No 2 Stationary Hospital, Line of Communication. Hughes has had his left arm leg amputated, and Wright has lost his right leg, but they are both recovering wellso far. They expressly asked me to write to you that they were doing well, and above all to thank you with all their heart for the magnificent courage which inspired you to assist them when wounded. Hughes says he owes his life to you."
Brig-General Sir Owen Thomas wrote as follows: " I have already heard of your son's bravery on more than one occasion. He is one of those bound to distinguish himself, and I hope he will have an opportunity to do so. I know how brave he is, and how much liked he is by everyone. Good luck to him. You have every reason to be proud of him."

Unfortunately Lieutenant Venmore did not long survive the honour which had been bestowed upon him, for July the same year saw the opening of the Somme attack, and he was killed while leading his company in the attack on Mametz Wood. He had already been severly wounded in the arm, but carried on in spite of this until he fell mortally wounded. His regiment lost heavily that day, but the task of taking the wood was completed.
The following telegram was received by the bereaved parents from the Premier:-
"Sincere sympathy with you in terrible loss of your brave and promising son-- Lloyd George." 
Colonel David Davies, writing from the War Office, sais "Ere this you, will have received the sad news of Fred's death on the battlefield and I can't tell you how terribly grieved and shocked we all were. Unfortunately I was not in the fight at Mametz Wood, but I saw Captain Wheldonon Saturday, and he told me that poor Fred was killed instantaneously by a shell at the head of his Company, which he was gallantly leading in the attack on the Wood. I jnow how deeply you will feel his loss, and I can assure you that we all most sincerely sympathise with you and Mrs. Venmore in your great loss. Fred was such a gallant fellow, beloved by all his felow officers and men alike. He never shrank from any danger, and his genial, kindly nature, his ready wit and splendid courage endeared him to us all. He will be an irreparable loss to the Battalion, who were proud of the distinction he gained when he was awarded the Military Cross, the first officer to be decorated with this honour in our brigade.Mr Lloyd-George wired you yesterday, and he has asked me to tell you again how much he sympathises with you in this hour of trial.

Sir John McClure, Head Master of Mill Hill School, wrote: "I was so sorry to hear of your son's death coming so soon after his Military Cross. I can remember discussing the boy's future with you some years ago up here and I dont think either of us thought that it would be so glorious or so short as it has turned out. He had the chance of proving himself a gallant gentleman, and he took it. Another name will never be forgotten here."
The following are quotations from letters of brother officers:--
"I have served with Fred for so long, and known him so well, that I hope you will accept my sincere sympathy with you all in your loss. I expect you will have heard from the adjutant or some official source, but we all knew him for a long time and had the highest opinion of his courage and ability, and his personal and social qualities. The battalion has suffered a very severe loss in your son and Major Mills. Fred was one of the oldest officers in the battalion and a recognised part of it, and it will not be the same to go back to it after his loss. As you know he was in command of "B" Company at the time and had a lot to do attending to all the arrangements for his Company. I heard the same morning his Company had done well, and was told, "Venmore got  "B" Company out of the trench altogether like one man, to go to the attack." My Company was on the right, and I did not see anything of Fred after we left the bivouac. I hope it will relieve your loss somewhat to know that Fred did his duty with the confidence of all his men and all his brother officers in the battalion, and he had their affection too."
"It has simply stunned me. One cannot realise what a terrible loss it is to all who are left. I can only say that there is no one in the brigade who was so loved by men and officers, and for whom every one of us would have gladly given their lives. Your one comfort is to know that Fred gave his life for his King and country, nobly meeting his death as a soldier should. He was the one officer who had such a sound influence with men and brother officers, and I bemoan his loss most terribly, as he has always been my firmest and truest friend."
These are the sincere expressions which have been echoed by hosts of friends who knwe him intimately in civil life.

The above extract was taken from Liverpool's Scroll of Fame.

James Frederick Venmore joined the Pals as Private 21640. He was commissioned as outlined above.

He was killed in action on 11th July 1916 during the attack on Mametz Wood and he now lies in Dantzig Alley Britsh Cemetery, Mametz, France where his headstone bears the epitaph:


The translation of which is "GREATER LOVE HAS NO MAN"

His parents placed a notice in the Liverpool Daily Post on 18th July 1916:  

“July 11, killed in action, aged 28 years, Lieutenant James Frederick Venmore (Royal Welsh Fusiliers), son of Mr. and Mrs. James Venmore, Parkside, Anfield Road, Liverpool.”

His Military Cross was gazetted in the Edinburgh Gazette on 17th April 1916 as follows:

Temporary Lieutenant James Frederick Venmore, 14th Battalion, The Royal Welsh Fusiliers.

For consistent gallantry on patrol, notably on one occasion when, under very heavy fire and constant flares, he went out to an isolated listening post and carried into safety through the barbed wire a man who had been wounded.

James is also commemorated on the following Memorials:

Liverpool University War Memorial,

Liverpool University Victoria Hall, Brownlow Hill, Liverpool, 

Liverpool College War Memorial 

Liverpool College Chapel, Queens Drive, Sefton Park, Liverpool

War memorial at Cemaes Bay, Anglesey, Gwynedd,

Llanfechell War Memorial, Llanfechell.

He is also commemorated on the family gravestone in Anfield Cemetery -        

                 Also in Glorious Memory 


            J. FREDERICK VENMORE, M.C.


                    BORN 9TH JUNE 1888


         SOMME, FRANCE, 10TH JULY 1916


                       BRITISH CEMETERY


Grateful thanks are extended to Margaret Hubbard for help with the translation of James' headstone from Welsh to English. Also to Guto Jones for the description of James' award of the Military Cross.

We currently have no further information on James Frederick Venmore, If you have or know someone who may be able to add to the history of this soldier, please contact us.



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