|2nd Lieutenant Michael Theodore PAGET|
1st Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers
Date of birth: 23rd December 1897
Date of death: 17th August 1917
Killed in action aged 19
Buried at Sanctuary Wood Cemetery Plot IV Row B Grave 31
|Michael Theodore Paget was born at Holt Vicarage, Wimborne in Dorset on the 23rd of December 1897 the fifth son of the Reverend Cecil George Paget MA, Rector of "The Stock House", Stock Gayland, Sturminster Newton, and Innes Elizabeth (nee Skinner) Paget of Cassington Vicarage, Eynsham in Oxfordshire. He was christened at St James’ Church, Holt on the 11 of January 1898.
He was educated at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Wimbourne and at Lancing College where he was in News House from September 1911 and in Fields House from September 1912 until December 1915. He served as a Private in the Officer Training Corps from September 1911 to December 1915.
While still at school he applied for a place at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich on the 11th of October 1915 and passed 150th in the examinations in November 1915. He entered the Royal Academy on the 11th of May 1916 but failed to achieve the required marks in gunnery in his final examinations so he left on the 9th of November 1916. He applied for a commission in the infantry for the regular army on the 16th of November 1916 in an application which was supported by the Reverend Bowlby, Headmaster of Lancing College, and Brigadier T.W. Cleeve, Commandant of the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. He enlisted at Dorchester as Private 28257 in the Dorset Regiment on the 1st of January 1917. At a medical examination, which was held on the same day, it was recorded that he was five feet eight inches tall and weighed 126lbs. He was posted to 17 Officer Cadet Battalion at Kinmel Park, Rhyl from the 3rd of January 1917 and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers on the 26th of April 1917. He went to France on the 21st of June 1917 where he was attached to the 1st Battalion of his regiment.
On the 16th of August 1917 the 1st Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers was in reserve at Abingley Camp. That morning other Brigades from their Division were engaged in an attack on the enemy lines to the east of Steenbeek as part of the ongoing Third Battle of Ypres. At 1pm they received orders to move at 2pm to Palisades Farm which they did, drawing supplies of tools and water on their way. At 4.30 pm they were ordered to relieve a battalion of the Hampshire Regiment and elements of the Border Regiment at dusk. After dark they moved forward and despite losing their way due to the guides not being familiar with the captured ground, they arrived safely in their new position of Harvey Trench without sustaining any casualties.
On the 17th of August they came under heavy and persistent shell fire for most of the day and during the evening Michael Paget was killed by shrapnel from an exploding shell.
His father received the following telegram dated the 23rd of August 1917: -
"Deeply regret to inform you 2/Lt. M.T. Paget Lancashire Fusiliers was killed in action August seventeenth. The Army Council express their sympathy."
Lieutenant Colonel Arthur John Walcot Blencowe MC, Commanding Officer, Lancashire Fusiliers wrote:-
"During the short time he had been with us he has shown himself on several occasions to be a most capable and promising young officer; he was popular both among his brother officers and his men, and he will be sadly missed by us."
Captain R.M. Downes MC wrote:-
"He was a most painstaking young officer, and although he with us such a short time, he was very much liked in the mess."
Captain H.M. Dobson wrote:-
"He was killed on the night of the 17th while faithfully carrying out his duty. It was instantaneous, a piece of shell piercing right through his steel helmet. We buried him in the ground he had so ably helped me to capture the day before. I miss him greatly...he was a great favorite with the men, and was a most able and useful officer."
Two of his brothers were also killed in the Great War; Captain John Christopher Paget 157th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery who was killed in action on the 26th of April 1917 and Private Francis Austin Elliott Paget 24th Battalion Royal Fusiliers who was killed in action on the 31st of July 1916.
He is commemorated on the war memorial at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School Wimbourne.