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Robert Lancaster

Robert Lancaster

Person  Male  Born 1880  Died 28/4/1917

Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Stationers who died in WW1.

Andrew Behan has kindly provided this research: Second Lieutenant Robert Lancaster was born in 1880, the third son and the sixth of the seven children of Sir William John Lancaster (1841-1929) and Lady Sarah Harriet Lancaster née Roy (1842-1889). The birth was registered in the fourth quarter of 1880 in the Wandsworth District. He was privately baptised on 17 October 1880 by the vicar of St Mary's Church, Putney.

The 1881 census shows him living with his parents four siblings, a housemaid, a general servant, a nurse, a wet nurse and her child at Shelford Cottage, Upper Richmond Road, Putney. The 1891 census shows him as a boarding scholar at Hillside Preparatory School, Farncombe, Godalming, Surrey, whilst his widowed father was living with three of his siblings at the family home of 'Garryowen', Putney Hill, Putney. He was educated at Charterhouse School and Leipzig University before returning to England to work in the City.

On 20 October 1902 he was initiated as a Freemason into the Lodge of Emulation No.21 which met at that time in The Albion Tavern, Aldersgate Street, London, EC1. The United Grand Lodge of England's Membership Register shows his address to have been 'South Lynn', Putney Hill, Putney and his occupation as a Printer. His father had been a member of this Lodge since 1889 and his elder brother John Roy Lancaster (1871-1951) from 1897. His younger brother, Henry Lancaster (1879-1943) was also initiated into this Lodge on 10 March 1905.

In 1903 he became a Freeman in the Worshipful Company of Carpenters and a Liveryman in 1905.

On 20 July 1907 he married Clare Bracebridge Manger (1874-1954) at St Peter's Church, Cranley Gardens, London, SW7. The parish register shows his occupation as a Gentleman and his address as 49 Putney Hill and her address was 15 Selwood Place, London, SW7. Their only child, Osbert Lancaster (1908-1986), later to become Sir Osbert Lancaster CBE, was born on 4 August 1908 and when he was baptised on 3 September 1908 at St John the Evangelist Church in Ladbroke Grove, the parish register shows the family were living at 79 Elgin Crescent, Notting Hill. Robert Lancaster's occupation was recorded as a Publisher.

The 1911 census confirms that the family were still living at 79 Elgin Crescent together with a cook, a parlour-maid and a nurse. His occupation was again shown as a publisher.

He was serving as a Second Lieutenant in the 7th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment when on 9-10 April 1917 the Battalion took part in the Battle of Arras, successfully taking gun-pits and trenches close to the Fuechy/Wancourt road. The battalion returned to Arras for training and reorganisation and returned to the front-line trenches at Monchy Wood on the 25 April. Three days later the battalion was part of an attack to capture rifle trenches and consolidate an advance line, but was held back by machine gun fire and uncut wire when he was killed in action, aged 36 years, on 28 April 1917.

Probate records show that his home address was 22 Sheen Gate Gardens, East Sheen, Surrey and that probate was granted to his executors, a solicitor called Mark Francis Waters and his barrister brother Henry Lancaster, on 27 September 1917. His estate totalled £22,714-4s-9d. On 22 November 1917 his army effects totalling £52-17s-4d were sent to his executors and they were also sent his £6-10s-0d war gratuity on 24 December 1919.

After the war on 4 November 1919 his body was exhumed from where he fell and was reburied in Plot V, Row F, Grave 6 of the Feuchy Chapel British Cemetery, Wancourt, near Arras, Pas de Calais, France. He was posthumously awarded The British War Medal 1914-1918 and The Victory Medal. He is also commemorated on the Masonic Roll of Honour 1914-1918 housed in Freemasons' Hall, Great Queen Street, London, WC2A 5AZ, on one of the stone panels on the east side of the ante-room of the Charterhouse School War Memorial Chapel and on a memorial inside the St John the Evangelist Church, Notting Hill where he had been a Churchwarden.

Andrew adds: "Not sure why he appears on the Stationers' war memorial, as I could only find records of him being in the Worshipful Company of Carpenters, but he was a printer/publisher so it's probable he was a member of both livery companies."

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Robert Lancaster

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Stationers' War Memorial

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