Audley Andrew Dowell Lee 1 October 1917

Audley Andrew Dowell Lee was in New House for nearly six years, leaving in the fateful summer of 1914. He went up to Lincoln College Oxford the following October but by December, he had gained a commission in the Leicestershire Regiment, despite the fact that he was born and lived in Wales. He arrived in France ten months later and fought throughout the Battle of the Somme in 1916. In January 1917, he was awarded the Military Cross, for good work on the Somme, having already been promoted to the rank of Captain.

On 1st October 1917, Audley Lee was leading his men forward to repulse a heavy attack. The British were edging towards the village of Passchendaele when the Germans counter-attacked through a thick mist. Much of the hardest fighting took place in front of Polygon Wood. The Leicestershire’s regimental diary records what happened with military precision.

 “5.25am Enemy put down a heavy barrage on front Company and Polygon Wood and at the same time put up a smoke screen all along Battalion front.

"5.27am Enemy attacked through smoke screen. SOS went up. First wave of enemy driven off by A Company by Lewis Gun and Rifle Fire. Captain A.A.D.Lee killed.”

No doubt, Audley Lee might have inspired his men as Lieutenant Colonel Bent did that same day with the cry of “Come on the Tigers".

An officer wrote of the 22 year old Audley Lee: “We feel his loss more than words can express, for he was beloved by all ranks.”

His body was never found and his name appears near that of his fellow Novarian, Norman Steel on the Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing.

Colin Pendrill
Yarrow Fellow