Max Arthur Close

Rank Second Lieutenant
Service No Unknown
Date of Death 14/03/1915
Age 25
Regiment/Service Highland Light Infantry 1st Battalion
Memorial Guards' Cemetery, Windy Corner, Cuinchy, Pas de Calais, France. Windy Corner was a house used as a battalion headquarters and a dressing station. The cemetery grew up alongside the house.  

 

Max was born in Stroud Green, Middlesex on 14th September 1889 to George Arthur Close (1855-1944) and his wife Sarah (1860-1949). He had a brother called Ralph, who was a major in the First World War (gazetted as a temporary 2nd Lieutenant on 29th October 1915) and a retired dental surgeon in 1949.

He was educated at Christ’s College, Finchley and later in France and Germany. He was a keen athlete and sportsman, who excelled in swimming, rowing and shooting, for which he gained many awards. On 6th October 1908 he joined the 28th Battalion County of London (Artists), a Special Forces regiment of the Army Reserve composed mainly of artists and art students, for four years. He states his occupation as ‘clerk with Abram Lyle and Sons Ltd’ and signed his name as ‘Kloss (alias Close)’. On 1st October 1912 he was re-engaged for a further year and on 16th September 1913 he agreed to serve for two more years.

The day after war was declared, Max became a lance corporal and on 26th September 1914 he was promoted to corporal. On 23rd October 1914, while at Abbots Langley, he agreed to serve in the Territorials outside the UK, signing his name as ‘Kloss’. On 26th October 1914 he embarked for France from Southampton. On 20th November 1914, he became an officer, as the 28th Battalion appointed him temporary 2nd Lieutenant on probation, and posted him to the 21st Border Regiment. This does not last as sixteen days later he re-joins the battalion in Ypres, Belgium.

On 1st January 1915 he was transferred to the Highland Light Infantry 1st Battalion. On 12th March 1915 he was hit in the head whilst leading his platoon in an attack from Neuve Chapelle and died shortly afterwards. His colonel, E.R. Hill, wrote of him: “In him we mourn one more of those gallant fellows who responded so promptly to the call of duty and set an example to the country.” Lieutenant-Colonel H.A.R. May, commanding officer of his battalion, also wrote “he unswervingly persisted in carrying out what he conceived to be his duty. He splendidly upheld all the best traditions of the British Army, and he won the esteem of all with whom he came into contact. His name will always be remembered by us with pride.”

The St Luke’s Finchley Monthly Magazine of April 1915 lists Max in its roll of honour, saying that he was killed in action on 14th March and was the son of G A Ash of ‘Westbury’, East End Road, ‘who have been members of our congregation for the past three or four years. Their family consisted of two sons, both of whom went to the front in the autumn. Max was then in the Artists’ Territorial Battalion and from there got a commission in the Border regiment but was quickly transferred to the 1st Highland Light Infantry. He is an old Christ Church College boy. The other son, Ralph, got a commission. We pray that he may be spared to return to his parents.’