Service: London Regiment (Royal Fusilliers)
Date and place of birth: 20 February 1866 at Mitcham Hall, Surrey
Date and place of death: 25 September 1915 in France
No information could be found linking Cecil Gedge to Stedham apart from a reference in the diary of Alexander Scrimgeour, where, in October 1915 he records Cecil’s death, and the Memorial in Stedham Church.
In loving memory
Cecil Bertie Gedge
2nd Lieut. 3rd Bn The Royal Fusiliers
City of London Regiment
Who died a glorious death leading his men in
The Battle of Loos – September 25th 1915
Born February 20th 1866
He enlisted in the Sportsmen’s Battalion October 1914
Was granted a commission in April 1915 and proceeded
To France on 10th July.
Greater love hath no man than this
That he lay down his life for his friends.
Cecil Bertie Gedge was the son of Sidney and Augusta Elizabeth Gedge, nee Herring, who had married in Norfolk in 1857.
In 1871 the family: Sidney Gedge (41), solicitor, Augusta Elizabeth (42), Sidney Robert (13), Beatrice Jessy (11), Cecil Bertie (5), Walter Gerard (2) and Leslie Latham (1) were living at 48 Marina, St Leonards, Sussex. With them were Clara Gedge (30), sister, Alice Carnell (25), Amy Powley (32), parlour-maid and Ellen Golly (20), housemaid.
Sidney Robert Gedge died in 1872, aged 14.
In 1881 Sidney, Augusta and Beatrice J Gedge (21) were living at Mitcham Hall, Surrey.
Cecil Bertie Gedge was 15 and listed as a boarder at Eton College.
Walter Gerard and Leslie Latham Gedge were listed as scholars at Eagle House School, 56 High Street, Wimbledon, London
Walter Gerard Gedge died in 1885, aged 16.
In 1891 Sidney Gedge (61), solicitor, Augusta (62), Beatrice J (31), Cecil B (25), student at Inner Temple, Leslie L (21), clerk to solicitor, were living in Westminster, London.
Beatrice Jessy Gedge married Alfred Hugh Minton in 1894.
Cecil Bertie Gedge married Jessie Catherine B Rogers in London on 6 August 1892.
In 1901 Cecil Gedge (35), barrister, solicitor, Jessie C B (35) and their daughter Sydney Jessie (7), were living in Marylebone, London.
In 1901 Sidney and Augusta Gedge were living at 32 Queen Mansions, 54 Victorian Street, London, with domestic staff, including a hospital nurse. Living next door to them at 33 Queen Mansions was their son Leslie Latham (31), solicitor, his wife Edith (32) and sons Sidney Victor (4) and Montagu (1).
In 1901 Beatrice was living with her husband and children: Gareth (6) and Igrayney (4) in Woolwich,London. Alfred Hugh Minton was a medical practitioner on his own account and working from home.
Beatrice Jessy Minton died in 1903
Leslie Latham Gedge died in 1904.
In 1911 Cecil B Gedge, barrister, was living with Jessie and their daughter Sydney (17) at 28 Bracondale, Strawberry Hill Road, Twickenham.
Sidney Gedge was still working as a solicitor and living at Mitcham Hall.
Augusta Elizabeth Gedge was a patient at 8 Manor House, High Street, Wanstead, a ‘Home for Nervous Ladies’.
Alfred Hugh Minton was practicing as a medical practitioner at 124 High Street, Woolwich. With him was his second wife Edith Sarah (26), Igrayne Beatrice (14) and Alfred (5).
There is no found record for Gareth Minton, however, subsequent electoral records place him in High Street, Woolwich.
Cecil Bertie Gedge enlisted on 9 October 1914 in the 23rd Middlesex Regiment (The Sportsman’s Battalion).
The Battalion was formed at the Hotel Cecilia in the Strand, London on 25 September 1914 by Mrs E Cunliffe Owen. It was initially known as the ‘Hard as Nails Battalion’.
He was gazetted 2nd Lieutenant in the 1/3 London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers) 1 April 1915. He went to France in June when he was attached to the Grenadier Coy. Garhwal Brigade. On 25 September 1915 the regiment entered the Battle of Loos which was fought over the industrial coal mining villages north of Lens. In order to unbalance the Germans and to prevent them from rapidly moving reserves from quiet sectors a series of feint attacks were staged. One of these was north of Neuve Chappelle at Pietre. The attack was delivered by the Indian Corps to which the 1/3 London Regiment was attached. The Garhwal Brigade advanced to find the wire was not cut and it sustained large casualties as men desperately sought a way through. Eventually the Garhwal Brigade attack stalled in front of the German trenches and made no significant progress. On their flank the Bareilly Brigade accompanied by the 2/8 Gurkha Rifles made progress but found themselves isolated and susceptible to German counter attack which soon developed. The mud and the congested British communication trenches prevented support reaching the Bareilly Brigade and under severe pressure from German troops armed with superior grenades, it was forced to return to its original front line. The cost of the Pietre action was 107 officers, 1172 British other ranks and 1788 Indian other ranks. The Battle of Loos marked the first use of poison gas by the British army.
It was here that Cecil Bertie Gedge lost his life.
He was awarded British War and Victory medals.
Death and commemoration
Lieutenant Cecil Bertie Gedge was killed in action on 25 September 1915, aged 49.
His Colonel wrote – ‘He was wounded early in the advance and came back and had his wounds dressed, and then went out again to lead his men, and he has not been seen since. He was a brave English gentleman, and we are glad to think he was one of us’.
He wrote to his widow –‘ I am very sorry to say I have had strict orders not to send forward for ‘mention’ any officer who has been killed. If it were not for this very strict rule I should have sent forward your husband’s name’.
A brother officer wrote – ‘There is one thing that may console you, and that is, that your husband showed the greatest courage. He was [again] wounded by shrapnel early in the morning, but refused to go back. He just had his men bind him up, and when the order came to go over the parapet, he led his men over like a hero’.
The following announcement appeared in the Birmingham Daily Post 11 October 1915
GEDGE, Sec. Lieut. C B, 3rd Battalion London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers) (TF) was the only surviving son of Mr Sydney Gedge, formerly solicitor to the London School Board. He was called to the Bar in 1891 and practiced on the South-Eastern Circuit and at the Essex and Herts Sessions. He was 49 years of age and received his commission in April.
He left a widow, Jessie Catherine Gedge and a daughter Sydney Jessie.
Cecil Gedge is buried in the Loos Memorial Cemetery, Loos-en-Gehelle, Departement du Pas-de-Calais, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France.
He is commemorated on the Loos Memorial (Panel 130), the Britain School & University Memorial Rolls 1914-18, the Masonic Roll of Honour, the Mitcham War Memorial, a memorial plaque in St James Church, Stedham and is also named on a family grave in the churchyard of St Peter and St Paul, Mitcham.
Subsequent family history
Augusta Elizabeth Gedge died in 1912 in West Ham district.
Sidney Gedge died April 6 1923 at Mitcham Hall.
Jessie Catherine Gedge died 27 August 1923 in Brentford District.
Gareth Sydney Tristan Minton died 1924 in Guildford district.
Sydney Jessie Gedge married William Greville Macdonald Nicholl on 13 October 1921 at The Cantonment Church Lahore, India.
Alfred Hugh Minton died in 1927 in Woolwich district.
Igrayney Beatrice Minton married Clifford James Peard in 1929 in Kent.
Clifford James Peard died 9 May 1958 in Taunton district.
Igrayney Eulalie Beatrice Peard died 8 July 1977 in Taunton district.