|2nd Lieutenant George Rodolph Fane DE SALIS|
1/8th Battalion Middlesex Regiment
Date of birth: 1st June 1898
Date of death: 21st June 1917
Killed in action aged 19
Buried at Hibers Trench Cemetery at Wancourt Row E Grave 16
|George Rodolph Fane De Salis was born at Dawley Court, Hillingdon in Middlesex on the 1st of June 1898 the son of Sir Cecil Fane De Salis JP DL KCB, High Sheriff of Middlesex, and Rachel Elizabeth Frances (nee Waller) De Salis of Dawley Court.
He was educated at Hildersham House School in Broadstairs and at Lancing College where he won a scholarship and was in Heads House from September 1911 to September 1913. He served as a Private in the Officer Training Corps from September 1911 to September 1913. In September 1913 he went on to St Paul's School where he served as a Corporal in the Officer Training Corps and achieved Certificate A. He left in December 1916.
While he was still at school he applied for a commission in the Territorial Force on the 19th of October 1916 with Captain H.R. Pullinger, Commanding Officer of the St Paul's Contingent of the Officer Training Corps writing in support of his application :- "Very keen and efficient at his work as NCO has handled his section well and has shown himself a capable leader."
He was accepted by the 3rd Officer Cadet Battalion Middlesex Regiment as Private 24656 in on the 8th of November 1916 and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Middlesex Regiment on the 28th of March 1917. He embarked for service in France on the 20th of May 1917 and joined his battalion in the field at Arras along with five other officer replacements on the 22nd of May 1917.
On the 19th of June 1917 the 1/8th Battalion Middlesex Regiment relieved the 3rd (City of London) Battalion (Royal Fusiliers)in the front line at Wancourt near Arras with the relief being completed at 11.45pm. Between 8.30pm and 10pm on the night of the 21st of June, Battalion Headquarters was heavily shelled. During the barrage a shell fell in the trench killing George De Salis and wounding one other man.
His Commanding Officer made this entry in his diary the following day: -
"June 22nd. Showery. Heard that young De Salis was killed by a shell last night in Wancourt Line. Buried him in the Cemetery there in the afternoon. Very wet day. Quiet night"
A classmate from St Paul's wrote:-
"At school he seemed to have no wish to attain those distinctions which are usually sought after, but for all that distinction was part of his nature, and he had in him all the qualities necessary to be a fearless soldier, a loyal friend, a man of honest, blunt, but attractive character."
His father applied for his medals in March 1922.
His elder brother, Lieutenant Jerome Joseph Fane De Salis 1/8th Battalion Middlesex Regiment, died of wounds on the 3rd of October 1915.