Home Tours Trees Inventory Search About
Tours War
Chapter 1: Crimean War - Colin Gilchrist
Chapter 2: World War I - Cecil Thomas Withers
Chapter 3: World War II - The recordings of Olive Withers (nee Gilchrist)
Chapter 4: World War I - The Medal Record of Albert Williams
Chapter 2: World War I - Cecil Thomas Withers
Cecil served with the Royal Warickshire regiment, and trained to be part of a Lewis Gun team. When he joined the army he undertook a medical exam and records show the following personal details: he was 18 years old, 5 foot six and a half inches, and medically fit with an 'A1' clasification.
At the age of 19 he was sent to France to fight in the trenches. Situated outside of Bapaume, in between Bancourt and Fremicourt, his team of comrades were hit by an exploding bomb. Most of his comrades were killed, and Cecil was seriously wounded by a piece of shrapnel that hit him in the back of the head. Cecil was hospitalised for many months and was still in hospital for the Armistice celebrations. And although he survived, the piece of shrapnel remained lodged in his head for life.
Cecil's initial medical examination, classing him as an A1, 1917
Cecil's employment certificate for WW I, showing that he had been in France for 4 months and wounded once.
Despite his WWI experiences Cecil applied, in 1927, to join the Air Force. But because of his medical condition (from WWI) his application was unsuccessful. In 1941 he trained as an Air Raid Warden, and served as one in WWII.
When Cecil was in his 70's he met up with one of his WWI comrades, George Bryant. In a letter to Cecil, George reflected on the time in the trenches saying how nice it would be to ' ... take a saunter up the Bapaume Trail with our heads up instead of down ...' and how they '...never dreamed we should make our 70th years then!'