• Christina Drummond

Lieutenant Roger Owen Birkbeck Wakefield, 1st Battalion, Princess Victoria’s Royal Irish Fusiliers


Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1914, Lieutenant Roger Owen Birkbeck Wakefield, 1st Battalion, Princess Victoria’s Royal Irish Fusiliers, died from wounds received two days earlier during the Battle of Le Cateau on the Western Front.

Educated at Moorland House School in Heswall, and Repton School, he was an outstanding sportsman, excelling at cross-country and hurdle races, point-to-point, and shooting. He attended Sandhurst and was commissioned into the Royal Irish Fusiliers in February of 1912, being promoted to Lieutenant in January of 1914.

Lieutenant Wakefield’s battalion left for France on the 21st of August, as part of the 10th Brigade, IVth Division, landing at Boulogne. They arrived in time to provide infantry reinforcement during the Battle of Le Cateau. The British had retreated from the Battle of Mons, setting up defensive positions as they withdrew against the German advance. It was considered a highly co-ordinated tactical withdrawal. Forty thousand British troops were involved in the fighting, with 2,600 taken prison and nearly 8,000 casualties, one of whom was Lieutenant Wakefield. He was grievously wounded in the fighting and taken to the temporary hospital set up in the commune of Caudry. Despite efforts to save him, he passed away two days later. He is buried in the Caudry Old Communal Cemetery in France.

Roger, from Farnagh, Moate, in County Westmeath, Ireland, was 22 years old.

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