52765 Field Secretary Arthur Montague Lascelles
Rare NZ YMCA Medal
The scarce British War Medal to Arthur Lascelles, Field Secretary of the New Zealand YMCA. With just under forty medals issued to the NZ YMCA, and only 33 actually named in New Zealand, this is one of the rarest New Zealand medals for WW1.
Arthur Lascelles was born in Clive, near Napier, New Zealand on 17th February 1897. Son of Montague William Percy and Mary Lascelles (née Browning). He was educated at Waitaki Boys' High School at Oamaru. Having failed to be accepted into the NZEF in early 1917, he travelled to the UK with his father, who had been appointed NZYMCA Commissioner. Arriving in July 1917, Arthur was appointed to run the YMCA hut at the NZ Engineers Depot at Boscombe.
Around April 1918 Arthur moved to France, working as a civilian with the NZ YMCA Divisional Huts. Working close to the lines as a civilian became problematic in terms of access, so the YMCA Field Secretaries were attested into the NZEF, affording them the right to wear a uniform. Arthur was attested in August 1918. He returned to New Zealand in 1919, and discharged in August 1919.
In the early 1920's Arthur moved to the US, where he married Norma Georgina Erwin Pearson in 1925. The couple resided at Louisville, Kentucky and it was here that Arthur received his British War Medal in 1928, the medal itself having been named in New Zealand.
The couple returned to New Zealand in the mid-1930s, and in April 1937 their son were born at Palmerston North. Arthur was working as an osteopath at this time. Norma Lascelles died suddenly in November 1937. Arthur remarried in 1941, to Emily Olive (Billie) Lake. Arthur died 19th September 1983 at Tauranga and is buried in the Old Napier Cemetery.
The British War Medal is correctly impressed (FLD. SCY. A.M.M. LASCELLES. 52765 NZ. YMCA.). Note the second initial seems to be in error as all records show his middle name as simply 'Montague'. Note, this is the full entitlement for a Field Secretary of the NZ YMCA.