Robert Lee, bricklayer and cricketer

Robert was the son of George and Emma Lee who married on 26 August 1876 at All Saints’ Church, Witley. Their children were Robert Henry, Herbert John, Albert Thomas and Florence Emily.  The family may have lived in Culmer for a time but in 1911 were at Westfield Cottages, Witley when Robert was a bricklayer for F Milton and Son.  Together with Arthur Jesson (killed in action on 16th November 1916, also during the battle of the Ancre) and W Wiggan (headmaster of Witley School) Robert was a mainstay of Witley Cricket Club and trialed for Hampshire.

Robert had only been at the front for three months when his battalion took part in the battle of Ancre (13th – 18th November 1916), the last battle of the Somme Campaign. The weather was very cold with mist and rain and it began to snow on the 18th when the battalion moved through Becourt, being met by shell, machine gun and rifle fire.  Robert was killed as the battalion advanced.  The Chaplain wrote to his parents that he had officiated at the burial but Robert’s grave became lost subsequently so he has no known grave.  Robert was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

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