Enlisted into the 2/6th Battalion, transfered to the 10th Battalion and missing in action in April 1918.
Lancelot enlisted in Chesterfield into the 3/6th Sherwood Foresters in February 1916 and was one of several men from Bury St Edmunds that enlisted into the 6th Battalion Sherwood Foresters; Lancelot’s mother was from Chesterfield, which may explain his choice of Regiment.
Lancelot most likely arrived in France with the 2/6th Battalion in February 1917, but at some point transferred to the 10th Battalion. This would have been at an Infantry Base Depot and Lancelot might have been wounded or sick (and recovering).
He was posted missing (and death presumed) on 21st April 1918 whilst serving with 9 Platoon in ‘C’ Company. Lancelot appears on several British Red Cross Enquiry Lists including those issued on 2nd August and 20th November 1918.
At the time of his death the 10th Battalion were occupying front line trenches close to Aveluy Wood on the old Somme Battlefield the trenches were very shallow causing numerous casualties; ‘C’ company were occupying the OUTPOST LINE. On the 21st April the Germans began shelling the front line.
“From 9am to 6pm there was no news from Captain FB Joyce MC, who was in Command of two Platoons of ‘C’ Company holding the positions on the railway. During the afternoon the shelling increased in intensity; and at 6pm two runners arrived from ‘C’ Company saying that when they left at 5.15pm the Company had already suffered heavy casualties”
[10th Battalion History by Lieut. WN Hoyte]
“It now seems certain that Lancelot. H. Shillitoe (Sherwood Foresters), nephew of Mrs J. G. Shea, Eastwood House, Chesterfield, who has been reported missing since April 21st 1918, was killed on that date. Information has been received through Red Cross sources that Cpl Shillitoe’s Company was held up by an enemy counter attack on the date stated, and a comrade states that he saw the young soldier laid low by gunshot. The occupation of the area by the enemy rendered it impossible to recover the body, but the soldier of whom inquiries have been made has no doubt whatsoever that Cpl. Shillitoe was killed. Cpl Shillitoe, who was 20 years old, was the third of four soldier sons of Mr Thomas Shillitoe, Upper Norwood, a London Contractor and Builder. His maternal grandmother was the late Mrs Stilwell, Glenholme, Chatsworth Road, Brampton. In civil life he was at the engineering works of Bryan Donkin Company, Derby Road. Joining up on February 8th 1916, when he was under military age, he went with the 2/6th Battalion Sherwood Foresters to Ireland in connection with the rebellion. His brother, who enlisted at the same time, is still serving.
[Derbyshire Courier, 21st September 1918]
Lancelot body was not recovered after the War and he is Commemorated on the Poziers Memorial. His mother Sarah was awarded a pension after the war.
Lancelot was actually working in Chesterfield prior to his enlistment, as he is named on the memorial to the employee’s of Bryan Donkin and Co. Ltd.. I have a photo of the memorial that I can forward on to you. It was rescued from their business premises on Derby Road when they were demolished and is now installed at the Church of Saints Augstine.
Morning Mike – would love to see a picture – will add to his story, best wishes Mike