|2nd Lieutenant John Peter Fabius Fane DE SALIS|
A Company, 2nd Battalion Seaforth Highlanders
Date of birth: 12th October 1897
Date of death: 22nd January 1917
Killed in action aged 19
Buried at Peronne Communal Cemetery Plot V Row P Grave 17
|John Peter Fabius Fane De Salis was born at "Fleurs", St Mary's, New South Wales in Australia on the 12th of October 1897 the younger son of Leopold William Jerome De Salis, a grazier and farmer, and Jeanette Caroline (nee Armstrong) De Salis of Paramatta, New South Wales, later of “The Limes” Laleham-on Thames.
He was educated at the King's School, Parramatta where he was a day boy from 1907 to 1910, at Hinderham House in Kent and at Lancing College where he won a scholarship and was in Seconds House from September 1911 to December 1915. He was a Sergeant and Platoon Commander in the Officer Training Corps, achieving Certificate A and attending annual camps in 1913 and 1914. He was appointed as a House Captain in September 1914. He was appointed as a Librarian and as Head of House in February 1915 and as a Prefect in May of the same year. He achieved Higher Certificate in 1913/14 and won House Colours for Running, Cricket and Football.
On leaving school he applied for a commission in the 3rd Battalion Seaforth Highlanders, Special Reserve of Officers, on the 10th of January 1916 in an application which was supported by the Reverend Bowlby, Head Master of Lancing College and by Adam Fox, a Housemaster at the school. He was sent for officer training with 9 Officer Cadet Battalion at Gailes Camp in Ayrshire. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion Seaforth Highlanders and went to France in October 1916 where he was attached to A Company, in the 2nd Battalion of his regiment, joining them in the field at Trinquie, near Abbeville on the 6th of November 1916. Between the 12th and 18th of November he was sent on a Lewis Gun course.
On the night of the 17th of January 1917, the 2nd Battalion Seaforth Highlanders relieved the 3rd Battalion, 77th French Infantry Regiment in trenches at Bouchavesnes with the relief being completed by 2am. A Company was in support during this spell. The weather was very cold and enemy snipers were active throughout their four days in the trenches causing a number of casualties.
On the night of the 21st /22nd of January the battalion was relieved by the Royal Irish Fusiliers and were moving to shelters in Road Wood. During the relief a shell fell among the men killing John De Salis instantaneously. The same shell killed one other rank and wounded Lieutenant Aitken, Company Sergeant Major McLeod and four other men.
His father received the following telegram dated the 25th of January 1915: -
"Deeply regret to inform you that 2/Lieut. P.F. De Salis Seaforth Highlanders was killed in action January twenty second. The Army Council express their sympathy."
His Colonel wrote:-
"Always cheerful and helpful, his unfailing devotion to duty made him a good friend and all a soldier ought to be."