Claude Leslie Blair

Claude Leslie Blair

Birth 1886 Death 16th Jun 1917 Pte
Royal Engineers

Personal Details

Place of Birth Drigg
Residence at Enlistment 37 Crossfield Road , Cleator Moor
Residence (Roll of Honour) 37 Crossfield Road , Cleator Moor
Residence 1911 Census
School(s) Attended St Bees
Religion/Church Attended Presbyterian
Organisation Membership
Employment/Trade Engineer
Place of Work
Family (Parents and Grandparents) Robert & Josephine M Blair
Siblings Robert Coventry F , Josephine M J ,
Wife's Name and Maiden Name
Remarriage of Widow
Children's Christian Name(s)
Family Connection to Roll of Honour Brother to Robert Coventry F 9th South Lancs


Military Cross
Military Cross
The Victory Medal
The Victory Medal
The British War Medal, 1914-18
The British War Medal, 1914-18

Military Details

Regiment at Enlistment Highland Light Infantry
Battalion at Enlistment 11th
Rank at Enlistment Pte
Naval Vessels Served
Service Number at Enlistment
Date of Enlistment 1 September 1914
Place of Enlistment Whitehaven
Other Regiment
Other Battalion 106 Field Company
Other Rank Cpl
Date of Transfer to other Regiment 8 March 1915
Service Facts Promoted Lnc Cpl . 14/10/1914
Promoted Cpl 24/10/1914
Promoted Segt . 24/10/1914
Reverted to Cpl 8/3/1915 on transfer to Royal Engineers
Promoted Sgt . in Royal Engineers 30/3/1915
Gazetted as Ltn 4/2/1916
Battalion Diary or Nautical Facts

Death and Memorial Details

Age at Death 31
Date of Death 16th Jun 1917
Regiment at Death Royal Engineers
Battalion/Vessel at Death 106 Field Company
Rank at Death Ltn.
Circumstances of Death Killed in Action
Service Number at Death
Field of Action at Death Flanders
Place of Death Ypres
Battle at Death
Grave/Memorial Image No image.
Grave Position I. J. 50.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission Link,-/
Grave/Memorial Country France
Private Memorial St Johns Church War memorial



C L Blair The name of Temporary Lieutenant Claude L. Blair, R.E., of St. Bees, appears in the list of officers who have been recipients of the Military Cross, as published last week. Lieut. Blair is well known in West Cumberland as an expert cricketer, playing as he has done for both St. Bees and Whitehaven. He is also well known on the football field. At the time of his enlistment he was engaged as a mining engineer. He joined as a Private in the Highland Light Infantry, and subsequently received a commission in the Royal Engineers.

Later, from the 'Whitehaven News' 28 June 1917:


Following the recent announcement that Lieut. C.L. Blair, R.E., of Belle Vue House, 34 Main Street, St. Bees had been awarded the Military Cross, came the sad news that the gallant officer had been killed in action. There was a rumour to this effect in the district on Tuesday, but it lacked confirmation, and it was not until Friday that we were able to obtain verification.

It appears that the deplorable event occurred on Saturday, and, in addition to the formal intimation, an officer has written stating that he saw him fall. He was caught by a shell while walking along a trench, and was killed instantaneously. As stated in a previous issue, Lieut. Blair originally joined the Highland Light Infantry, and soon proved himself worthy of promotion. Ultimately he was given a commission, and transferred to the Royal Engineers, with which section of the service he had distinguished himself since he had been in France. Lieut. Blair, who was 30 years of age, belonged to a branch of the same family of Blairs as the late Captain Blair, D.S.O., of Richmond Hill, Whitehaven, who was his cousin.

He was educated at St. Bees School, of which he was head boy for some time, and his career there was marked by a good deal of success both as a student and as an athlete. Later on he became a prominent and popular figure in local and county football and cricket circles. At St. Bees he played regularly for the village football and cricket teams. He came of a family of Rugby renown, his father, two uncles and a brother having all played for Cumberland, and it was, therefore, only natural that he should follow in their steps. After playing for the St. Bees and Workington Rugby Clubs and acting in the capacity of captain, he joined the Whitehaven Club and held the captaincy for some time. Not only did he distinguish himself with the local clubs, but also in the county team. He was a fine type of manhood, and a real sportsman in every respect, and his death will cause deep regret amongst his old colleagues and friends in sport as well as in business life.

By profession he was an engineer; and before entering the army to serve his King and country, he had an appointment at the works of the Whitehaven Haematite Iron and Steel Co. at Cleator Moor. His brother - R. C. Blair - with whom he was often associated in cricket and football, is also serving with the Forces. Lieut. Claude Blair was the nephew of Mr. John Blair, formerly of Harrington, and husband of Mrs. Blair of Richmond Hill, and also of his sister, Miss Blair. Mr. John Blair will be remembered as being much interested in local football. He was captain of the Cumberland County Association Football team, and was a fine player. Lieut. Blair's sister was married in April to Flight Commander Landells, R.N.V.R.

Yesterday a message was received that Lieut. Blair had been buried beside his cousin, Captain R.C.R. Blair, D.S.O.

A Whitehaven man, who is on the headquarters staff of the division to which Lieut. Blair was attached, and who frequently came into contact with him, conveying the news of his death wrote: "By now you may have heard of the death in action of Lieut. Claude Blair of St. Bees, the county Rugby player and cricketer. The news reached me this (Saturday) afternoon, he having been killed in the morning. He was in the Engineers in this Division, and only last Sunday I was talking to him. On that occasion he had just come out of action, and was very bright and cheerful; full of anticipation of going home on leave. We had a long yarn about the times gone by - cricket and football in the Cricket Field, and he asked me about all the local sportsmen. He was a splendid chap physically, and I know he was looked upon as a capable officer. I'm sure his loss will be a big blow to his own people, and to a wide circle of friends. I thought I would let you know because of the fact that I saw him so recently, and of the fact that he was so keenly interested in all the local lads."

From the St. Bees School Roll of Honour page 45

Lieut. C.E.L. Blair M.C. R.E. was killed in action on June 16 1917, being caught by a shell while walking along a trench. Only a few days before he had been awarded the Military Cross. He first enlisted in the Highland Light Infantry, and soon proved himself worthy of promotion, being given a commission in the Royal Engineers. He was at School 1899 -1903, taking a leading part in all the School games. By profession he was an engineer, and before entering the army held an appointment at the Whitehaven Heamatite Iron and Steel Works at Cleator Moor.
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