Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1915, Captain Maurice Lupton, 1st/7th Battalion (Leeds Rifles), the West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales’ Own), was killed in action in the trenches near Lille in France.
He was one of three sons of Francis Martineau Lupton, the great-great-grandfather of Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge. Educated at Rugby School and Trinity College, Cambridge, he was employed as a workshop manager at an engineering company in Leeds, and was commissioned into the 1st/7th Battalion, a territorial unit, in 1909.
At the outbreak of the Great War, Captain Lupton gave up his employment; he sailed with his battalion from Folkestone to Boulogne on the 15th of April in 1915. The battalion served on the Western Front for the duration the war, having lost over two thousand men by the time of the Armistice.
Captain Lupton wrote regularly to his family, his early letters being described as “strangely naïve”, as he comments: “I would not have missed coming out here for worlds. We have done no actual fighting yet but only moved about at very short notice, which is great fun. I am sitting in a little mud and wood shelter for all the world like playing Indians. Now and then we hear an occasional rifle crack or a shell going over like a wild duck, but not aimed at us, at least I don’t think so.” The tone of his letters changed over the following couple of weeks as he observed the German trenches through a periscope sent by his father. He witnessed the deaths of many of his men, some instantaneous as they were picked off by snipers, and some who were grievously injured by German shells landing in the trenches.
Captain Lupton was killed by a sniper and is buried in the Rue Petillon Military Cemetery at Pas-de-Calais in France. , His two brothers also did not survive the war, and their father, Francis Martineau Lupton, gave up Rockland, the large family home and let it for an annual rent of £1, in order for it to be used as a home for children of soldiers and sailors in honour of his three sons.
Maurice, from Potternewton in Leeds, was 28 years old.