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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

Captain Richard Francis Wolstenholme

  • Age: 22
  • From: Oxton
  • Regiment: Cheshire Regiment
  • Commemorated at: Fauborg D'amiens
    Panel Ref: I.J.36
Richard Francis was born in Birkenhead, Cheshire, in 1894, the son of Richard Mellor Wolstenholme and his wife Frances Mary (née Beardshaw).  His father, from Liverpool, and his mother, from Sheffield, married in 1893 in Derwent Woodlands, Chapel en Le Frith, Derbyshire, and had two children. Richard had a younger brother George Mellor, born in 1897.
 
In 1901 the family is living at 51 Beresford Road, Oxton, Birkenhead.  His father, 36, is a cotton broker/agent/employer, Richard is 6, George is 3. They have three domestic servants.
 
By 1911 his parents are living at 2 South Hill Grove, Oxton. His father, 46, is a cotton broker, his mother is 48. Also in the household is his widowed maternal grandfather, Jonathan Beardshaw, 84, and two servants.  Richard, 16, and George, 13, are boarding pupils at Stubbington House Preparatory School, Crofton, Fareham, Hampshire. 
 
After leaving school Richard continued his education in London and Paris, then joined his father’s cotton broking firm until the outbreak of war.  
 
Richard enlisted in Liverpool in August 1914 in the 17th (Pals) Bn, King’s (Liverpool) Regiment, as Private 15121.  At some point Richard was identified as officer material and sent to Officer Training School.  He was gazetted 2nd Lieutenant in the 15th Bn Cheshire Regiment. 
 
The 15th Cheshires embarked at Southampton for Le Havre on 29th January 1916 and in February went into front line trenches at Givenchy.  The battalion war diary gives an idea of Richard’s time at the front.  They went into action at Laventie and Ferme du Bois in April.  When at Croix Marmuse, the battalion moved on 14/5/1916, to Croix Barbée,  Lt. Wostenholme was appointed to remain behind for three hours to receive any claims submitted by the inhabitants. 
 
The battalion then moved to Neuve Chapelle. On 21/5/1916 patrols were sent out, three men from ‘X’ Company did not return, Lt. Wolstenholme,  (‘X’ Company), among others, took out a search party. One man was caught in the wire, but all returned safely. 
 
At midnight on 29th/30th May, raiding parties were sent out and advanced to within 35 yards of enemy front trench, having been attacked twice, “but their supply of bombs nearly exhausted, Lts. Frost and Wolstenholme decided to withdraw, and reached their exact starting point, the officers returning last, very disappointed at not having entered the enemy’s trench. Though the main objective of the raid was not attained, the party achieved success and proved their steadiness in unexpected circumstances.  They are confident they killed some of the enemy and in the front line the horns blown for the stretcher bearers were distinctly heard. The party nearly reached the enemy parapet and when forced to retire did so in perfect order.”
 
Early July was spent marching to Beauval, then to Bray on the 13th, and in the 16th to Bernafay Wood, where X Company held the trench on the east side of the wood; the wood held under severe shelling. Instructions were issued that the wood was to be held at all cost. Bernafay Wood was kept under constant shell fire until they were relived on the 20th, when they were rested but still heavily shelled.
 
On 23rd July orders were received to occupy trenches south of Montauban, the old German front and support lines, then to relieve the 18th Lancs Fusiliers in Maltz Horn Trench. ‘X’ Coy subsequently held the trench east of Trones Wood, suffering continuous bombardment.
 
On 1/8/1916 the battalion moved to Bois de Tailles, and marched to Mericourt to entrain for Saleux, then marched 12 miles to billets in Oissy. On the 10th they moved to The Citadel, on the 19th moved up to Silesia Trenches, supplying carrying parties, then moved up to Bronfay Farm.
 
By the beginning of September the battalion was in trenches near Arras. On 30th September Lt. Wolstenholme returned from leave.  The war diary records that on 7th October he was appointed Captain whilst commanding a company. On the 13th Capt. Wolstenholme returned from a course. Snow fell on the 18th, “weather cold and raw, the men suffer from exposure but ‘stick it’ well”.  On the 28th the weather was frosty, with a fog during the morning, tempting parties out to examine the wire and doing work in No Man’s Land. Capt. Wolstenholme and an artillery officer were killed.  Lt. Fitzgerald was wounded trying to recover the body of the artillery officer. The 29th and 30th were quiet days; on both days patrols were sent out to recover the body of the missing officer, examining shell holes and craters, without success. 
 
Richard’s body was evidently later identified, as he now rests in Faubourg d’Amiens Cemetery, Arras.  He was 22 years old.  His headstoe bears the epitaph:

"GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN THAN THIS" 
 
His death was reported in the Liverpool Echo on 5th December 1916:

“Oxton Officer Killed:  Captain Richard Francis Wolstenholme, of the Cheshire Regiment, who was killed in action on November 28, at the age of twenty-two, was  the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Wolstenholme, of South Hill Grove, Oxton, Birkenhead.  He was educated at Birkenhead School, also at Stubbington House, Fareham, where he captained both cricket and football teams, and Paris.  He afterwards took an active part in the conduct of his fathers firm, Messrs. Wolstenholme and Holland, one of the oldest cotton-broking firms in the city.  At the outbreak of the war he immediately enlisted in the King’s (Liverpool Regiment), subsequently taking a commission in the Cheshire Regiment.  He went to the front in January last, and was Gazetted Captain on 17th September this year.  He was greatly esteemed in social and business circles.”
 
Probate was granted to his father, Richard Mellor Wolstenholme, cotton broker, in the amount of £1,352-0s-9d.  
 
His brother George joined the Inns of Court O.T.C. at 18, was gazetted to the Yorkshire Retiment, and went to France in January 1917.  He won the Military Cross, saw service in Italy and was transferred back to France shortly before he was killed on 5/10/18.  He was 21 years old and now rests at at Busigny C.C. where his headstone bears the same epitaph as his brother Richard:

"GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN THAN THIS".

Their parents had now lost both of their sons. They retired to south Westmorland and in 1939 are residents at the Crown Hotel, Windermere.  His father died in 1945 age 80, and his mother in 1949, at the age of 86.
 
Richard is commemorated in the Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake, in the University of London Student Records and in “Wisden in the Great War: Lives of Cricket’s Fallen 1914-1918” edited by Andrew Renshaw (2014)as follows:

CAPT RICHARD FRANCIS WOLSTENHOLME (Cheshire Regt), killed on November 28 aged 22, had captained the Eleven at Stubbington House, Fareham  
 
Richard and George are both commemorated on the following memorials:

Liverpool Cotton Association Memorial

Men of Birkenhead Cenotaph
 
And on the pulpit in Christ Church, Claughton, Wirral, erected by their parents.  A well-known West Country craftsman was commissioned to carve the pulpit.  Christ's Crucifixion, Ascension and Resurrection are depicted in different panels. Two soldiers are seen at the foot of the cross. 
 
IN LOVING &
AFFECTIONATE MEMORY OF
CAPTAIN RICHARD
FRANCIS WOLSTENHOLME
15TH BATT
CHESHIRE REGIMENT
KILLED IN ACTION AT ARRAS
28TH NOV 1916
AGED 22
 
ALSO OF
LIEUT.GEORGE MELLOR
WOLSTENHOLME, M/C.
9TH BATT: YORKSHIRE REGIMENT
KILLED IN ACTION AT
BEAUREVOIR, FRANCE,
5TH OCT. 1918 
AGED 21
 
ERECTED TO THE GLORY OF GOD 
AND TO THEIR DEAR MEMORY BY
THEIR PARENTS RICHARD MELLOR AND FRANCIS WOLSTENHOLME
 
 








Killed On This Day.

(103 Years this day)
Sunday 27th January 1918.
L/Sgt 34298 Samuel Armstrong
34 years old