Date of Birth 1880
Place of Birth Southampton Hampshire
Service number PO/1686(S)
Regiment Royal Marine Light Infantry
Battalion 2nd R.M.Bn.R.N.Div
Died 28th April 1917
Death Location Arras in France
Life before The War
Cecil was born in Southampton in 1880, his parents were Richard Henry (1854 – 1909) and Ellen Emma (Jackson 1877 ) both were born in Southampton.
Richard and Ellen had 8 children although one died young. Cecil’s 4 surviving brothers and 2 sisters were:
George Henry (1878-1926)
Percy Boynes (1883-1960)
Frederick William (1886- 5th September 1918 on the Somme). Please select the link to read more of Frederick’s story.
Harold Alfred (1893-1956)
Ethel Linda (1881-1951)
Hilda May ( known as May 1895-1951), 1 sibling had died. All the children were born in Southampton.
In 1881 the family lived at 17 Cambridge Street, in 1891 at 18 Cambridge Street; in 1901 they had moved to 28 College Street and finally, in 1911, they had moved a few doors away to 10 College Street, Southampton.
In 1911 Cecil was working as a Storekeeper for a shipping company, Percy and Frederick worked as Grocers Assistants, George was an Upholsterer’s Labourer, Harry was an Apprentice Electrician and May (Hilda) was a Dressmaker / Machinist, Ethel was a mothers help. Cecil’s father Richard was an Upholsterer, he died in 1909.
Cecil joined the 2nd Royal Marines Battalion Royal Naval Division and served as a Private. He saw action in France and was killed in action on 23rd April 1917.
Cecil was awarded the Victory Medal and British War Medal, he is remembered on the Southampton memorial and on Panel Bay 1 of the Arras Memorial. On his death his mother Ellen was notified.
Cecil took part in the fighting at Gavrelle a small village situated at the eastern end of the Arras Battlefield, horrendous fighting took place here. Gavrelle is between Ypres and Passchendaeele to the north and the Somme to the south, overshadowed by Vimy Ridge. At Gavrelle hundreds of soldiers, airmen, especially the Royal Marine Light infantry lost their lives .
At the start of the Arras Offensive Gavrelle had been a fortified village in the third line defences of the Hindenburg Line, some miles behind the fighting line. When fighting reached the second week it was a prominent target for the British Army because of it’s importance as part of the Arleux Loop defensive line. Should Gavrelle and the high ground to the north of the village be taken, then the British Army would have had an excellent view of the whole of the Douai Plain beyond.
Capturing the village had been the responsibility of the Royal Naval Division and despite extremely bad weather and bitter fighting men had captured Gavrelle on the 23rd of April 1917. Cecil was killed in action on this day.
The Royal Naval Division continued being heavily involved in the fierce fighting in this region following Cecil’s death.