Service Number: 2398
Enlisted: 17 March 1915, Keswick, South Australia
Last Rank: Corporal
Last Unit: 10th Infantry Battalion
Born: Kingston, South Australia, 1888
Home Town: Kingston South East, Kingston, South Australia
Schooling: North Adelaide Public School
Occupation: Ironworker
Died: Killed in Action, Celtic Wood, Belgium, 6 October 1917
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Menin Gate Memorial (Commonwealth Memorial to the Missing of the Ypres Salient), North Adelaide War Memorial WW1
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World War 1 Service

17 Mar 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 2398, Keswick, South Australia
23 Jun 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2398, 10th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
23 Jun 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 2398, 10th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Kanowna, Adelaide
11 Sep 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2398, 10th Infantry Battalion, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
23 Jul 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2398, 10th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières
6 Aug 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2398, 10th Infantry Battalion, Mouquet Farm
9 Oct 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Corporal, SN 2398, 10th Infantry Battalion, Raid on Celtic Wood

Help us honour John Albert Lanchester's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Carol Foster

Son of George Sanderson Lancaster and Margaret Lancaster of 91 Margaret Street, North Adelaide, SA; brother of Donald Thomas Lancaster who returned to Australia on 11 May 1916 having served in the 10th Battalion

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal

Biography contributed by Robert Kearney

Raid on Celtic Wood

2398 Corporal John Albert Lanchester an ironworker from Kingston, South Australia was recorded on the 13 October Field Return as wounded on 6 October; this was altered on the 14 November Field Return to ‘Wounded & Missing.’ Given Lanchester, a member of D Company, was paid on 5 October he was probably with the LOB element until he came up with Lieutenant Fenn on the night 8 October. A Court of Inquiry convened in May 1918 found he was killed in action on 6 October 1917. If the Court had access to Lieutenant Pellew’s report and the credible witness Red Cross statements below their finding regarding his date of death would surely have been much different.

Statements by credible witnesses in Lanchester’s Red Cross file. Corporal Le Messurier, confirmed raider. - ‘We were together in the Cotlis [sic] Wood Stunt. We went out in the same party. I saw him wounded there in the shoulder. I offered to bind him up, but he said he would go back as he was and he left us to go to the D/S but was never seen again. When he left me we were about 200 yards[1] ahead of our own line. I had a letter from the London Red Cross asking about him but was too upset to reply’ - 4 Jun 1918

Corporal Duncan MM. - ‘He was in D. Company, 14th Platoon. I knew him pretty well, he was fair, about 5 feet 9, clean-shaven, about 25 or 30, medium build. On the 8th October we made a raid on Celtic Wood on the Ypres Sector; Lanchester was with us. 80 went out on a raid and only fourteen came back unwounded. Corporal. Le. Messurier, 10th. Battalion, D. Coy, 13th Pltn. (who was with the Battalion when I left about a fortnight ago) told me that he was with Lanchester when he was wounded. It was a slight wound in the shoulder and he saw him go down towards the D/Station.’ - 3 May 1918

Private Thomas C Coy 27th Battalion. -  ‘  His body was found by Lt. C.E. Pellew, C Co. 27th Bn. about end of Oct. and the paybook was taken from his body. This was handed to me to hand in to HQ. I sent it on. I am sure the number and name are as given. The body was found near the edge of Daisy [sic] Wood, Passchendaele.’ - 26 Feb 18

Lieutenant Pellew. - ‘... While “C” Company, 27th Battalion of which I was in command, was in the line from October 28th to November 5th 1917, a patrol which was sent out to Celtic Wood found a paybook in No Mans Land. This turned out to belong to L/Cpl Lanchester 10th Battalion.

I immediately reported same to Battalion Headquarters and after coming out of the line handed paybook to Battalion Headquarters.’ - 29 Mar 1918.

Private Howell. -  ‘... All I know of him, he was wounded at Passchendaele. I saw him coming out and spoke to him. My opinion is that he was caught with another shell as there was a heavy barrage on that morning’ - 5 June 1918.

There are two additional witness statements in Lanchester’s Red Cross neither of which are credible since  their ‘witnesses’ service records show they were not with the battalion that week.


[1] About 200 yards (183.8 metres) is near or just in the western wing of the Wood.