2nd Lieutenant Gerald Wallace ADAM


Regiment/Service:
Leicestershire Regiment
(Fomerly: Royal Welsh Fusiliers)
Unit:
Attached: 13th Bn. Yorkshire Regt.
Service Number:
(Private 76064 Royal Welsh
Fusiliers)
Date of Death:
10 August 1919
Age:
20
Cemetery / Memorial:
Grave Number:
n/a
Awards:
Mentioned in Despatches


Personal History:

Gerald was born on the 15th May 1899 at Heaton Norris, Lancashire, the son of John Wallace (Cotton Yarn Buyer) and Ethel Adam, of 6 Princes Road, Heaton Norris. (1901 Census RG 13/3288) where they lived with a nurse and general servant. By 1911 they had moved to 11 Clifton Road, Heaton Moor, Stockport. (1911 Census RG 14/21423), but  by then Gerald was a Boarder at Bryn Derwen School, Gorphwysfa Old Colwyn, Conway, Wales. (CensusRG 14/34545)

In May 1914 Gerald entered Oundle School (Grafton House), leaving in December 1916. After leaving School Gerald became a student at Manchester University, joing the O.T.C. in January 1917. His enlistment papers show him to have been 5' 6" (1.68 m) tall and he had a 34" (0.88 m) chest measurement

Military History:
Whilst still a student Gerald enlisted on the 7th December
1917, aged 17 years and 8 months, as a Private in the Royal
Welsh Fusiliers (service number 76064). In view of his
background, it is no surprise that, whilst in training, he was
selected to become an officer. Gerald was commissioned as
a 2nd Lieutenant in the Leicestershire Regiment on the 28th
May 1918.

It is unlikely that he ever served with the Leicesters but was
quickly attached to the 13th Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment
and went with them to Russia in June 1918, although Gerald's Medal Index Card confirms that he
entered that 'Theatre of War' in February 1919.

Even after the Armistice had been signed in November 1918, the War was not officially over and in
April 1919 a British force was sent to fight in the Russian civil war against the Bolsheviks.

The men of the 13th Battalion (and the 6th Battalion that were also sent) were a mixed bunch; some War veterans, some (like Gerald) very young and others who had been medically downgraded. The journey itself seemed fraught from the onset. Embarking at Dundee on the 12th October 1918, and following a near mutiny, the ship sailed on the 17th, only to have to spend three weeks in The Shetlands after a boiler burst. Two more weeks were spent in The Orkneys, where the men learned of The Armistice.

On the 21st October, on board 'The Huntsend', and arrived at Murmansk six days later. Although the main base was at Archangel, the two Battalions spent a freezing winter in Murmansk on protection and support duties, until moving finally to Archangel in November 1919. Gerald's 13th Battalion were stationed at Seletskoe, 70 miles south of Archangel, but on the 22nd February the C.O., General Lavie, had to quell a mutiny when the men demanded to be withdrawn from Russia.

During April the Battalion were in action engaged in heavy fighting with enemy forces. Who was the enemy became a problem after White Russian troops mutinied. In May 1919 Gerald was appointed Intelligence and Code Officer on General Lavie's staff, and the following month a general withdrawal began of British troops out of Archangel. Gerald, however, was not among them.

On the day, that Gerald is recorded as having been killed, however, the Battalion was not in action, they were undertaking guard duties and other fatigues in the Archangel area and there is no mention of them suffering any casualties. It can only be assumed that Gerald had been temporarily attached to another unit that was engaged in a successful action against the Bolsheviks that day at Seltsoe and Troitsa. The history of the Green Howards, however, relates that nothing was going on at the time of 2/Lieutenant Adam's death. Battalion H.Q. was in Bakaritza and the remnants of the Battalion were awaiting demobilisation.

An alternative version of his death comes from the following in the notices section of The Manchester Guardian of the 16th August 1919:

"DIED WHILST ON ACTIVE SERVICE
ADAM.- On August 10, of dysentry, on active service in Northern Russia, Second Lieutenant GERALD WALLACE ADAM, 13th Yorkshire Regiment, the dearly loved and only son of Mr & Mrs John W Adam, of Lee Wood Hotel, Buxton, late of Southfield, Clifton Road, Heaton Moor."

Dying from dysentry, however, would suggest he ought to have been buried, not merely commemorated
on the Archangel Memorial. His parents had moved by then to Buxton, staying or living at the Leewood
Hotel, hence the connection and inclusion of the Town Memorial. They died in the town and were buried
in Buxton Cemetery, John Wallace dying in 1933 and Ethel in 1941.

Footnote:
· Gerald is commemorated on his parents' grave in Buxton Cemetery

Sources:
· I am grateful to John Hartley for allowing me to use material from his excellent website
· I am also grateful to Robert (Great War Forum) for the photo of Gerald from 'The Sphere'
· ... and to "The War Graves Photographic Project" for the photos of Gerald's name on the Archangel Memorial
· ... and to Keith Taylor, for details of Gerald's service in Russia. [See: "Buxton, Burbage, Chelmorton, Harpur Hill,
   Peak Dale, King Sterndale and Wormhill REMEMBERED" - ISBN 978-1-906789-99-2, pps. 355 - 7]

Link to CWGC Record
The Archangel Memorial
The Adams' grave in Buxton Cemetery
The Adams' grave in Buxton Cemetery
2/Lt Gerald W Adam
poppy
Gerald's name on the Archangel Memorial
The Rusian Memorial - Brookwood Cemetery
Gerald's name on the Brookwood Memorial
The Russian Memorial, Brookwood