Robert Mayson Calvert Killed in Action 9th July 1916. 17th Manchesters

Photo Credit RBL

2nd Lt. Robert Calvert. The Times 21.7.1916

The Times 21/7/1916.

Memorial Plaque in St Michael’s Church.  Burgh by Sands, Cumbria. Robert was originally educated at Carlisle Grammar School 1903-1910.   In common with a large group of 17th Bttn Officers, Robert was also St Bees Old Boy (1910-14) and was a Hastings Exhibitioner at  Queen’s College, Oxford (1914-15).

He was  killed at Trones Wood on 9th July. Robert’s body was eventually recovered and he is buried at Serre Road Cemetery No2.  In common with at least three other members of the Regiment, Robert had originally had a battlefield grave in the south west corner of the wood, close to the point where Trones Alley had entered.  His exhumation record from 1929 indicates Robert’s remains were identified with the help of his pipe.  Kenneth MacArdle’s final contribution described Robert in his diary as “Calvert – a student of classics lately from St Bees in Cumberland, with bored looking wrinkles on his forehead and an inability to pronounce his “R”s which he substitutes with “W”s. He was meant for the Civil Service but makes a good enough soldier and is as comic as a clown with a tired resentful expression.” (Thanks to John Hartley) Robert Calvert had been an accomplished scholar, as a Hastings Exhibitioner at Queens College, Oxford. His parents were Robert and Fanny Calvert.  A Major L Calvert  finally arranged the inscription on Robert’s memorial “Remembered at his home, Burgh-by-Sands, Cumberland”.

In one of last letters to a school friend, Robert quoted Aes Triplex, by Robert Louis Stevenson “Does not life go down with a better grace foaming in full body over a precipice than miserably struggling to an end in sandy deltas?” 

As suggested in St Bees Roll of Honour, this might stand as his epitaph.

Not Forgotten.


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