CRANE Cecil Harry
Regiment : 4th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment
Service number : 17396
Conflict : WW1
Date of death : 6th August 1915 aged 23
Buried : Commemorated on Helles Memorial, Turkey, Panel 104 to 113.
Relatives : Son of John and Elizabeth Crane, of Badsey, Evesham; husband of Helen Margaret Crane, of Mill Cottages, Badsey, Evesham, Worcestershire
Memorial : Badsey St James's Church
Also appears on : Badsey Council School
Credits : Absent Voters List researched by Sandra Taylor.
Additional information on the memorial: Pte. Worcs Rgt.
Cecil Crane was born on 9th January 1892, the son of John Crane. He attended Badsey Council School from 6th May 1895, it is not known when he left the school. He is mentioned in a number of the Badsey Parish magazines throughout 1915. In the June 1915 edition an extract of one of his letters is published:
Writing to his wife under date May 6, Pte Crane says: “I haven’t written for a fortnight as we have been fighting day and night and only got relieved out of the firing-line yesterday. We have had some terrible fighting here, especially the last four days. The first was bad as we had to land under a heavy fire and then drive them back with the bayonet. The fourth day was the worst (April 29). How I shall remember that day!. We were fighting from morning till night and lost a lot of men. G Crisp, A Caldicott and S Byrd were wounded, but Jeff and I and most of the other Evesham chaps got through it all right. You will be glad to hear, if you haven’t seen it in the papers when you get this, that the Worcesters were singled out for special praise; so you see we soon made our name, tho’ at what a cost! And we who are left can only thank God for bringing us through such a day, as we were outnumbered by 10 to 1. How they cut us down you can only guess and we were forced to retire at the finish with about half as many men as we went out with; but we have got through the worst, I think, as we have got a lot of reinforcements come now, so I think we shall soon push them back. We have got the Gurkhas here now and they are terrors with their knives. I have got a turkish bugle which I am trying to keep to bring back. I forgot to mention that in the big fight we threw our packs away and of course our writing-paper with them so you might send me some if you can. You needn’t send any tobacco as I have got over 2 lbs now as they serve us out some and I get Jeff’s [Jeffries] as well. Remember me to all and tell them I hope to be with you all again soon.”
Also in the June edition, a postcard had been received stating he was in hospital but doing well, in the July edition it was reported that he had been invalided to Malta but had now returned to active service.
From the September 1915 parish magazine:
Private C H Crane, writing to Mr R Pethard under date July 27, says: “Since I last wrote to you I’ve seen some life and had one or two near ones, but, thank God, they haven’t got me yet, although there’s only a few of us left now that were in the landing. I daresay you know that Jeffries is wounded, so that I’m the only lucky one out of all the Evesham District now. But I mustn’t brag as you never know when your turn is coming, and it makes you think seriously of higher things here when you are seeing death every day in different forms, and you can’t help but think that one of these might easily have been you. You may have seen the account of a charge by one company of Worcesters and one of the Royal Scots, on June 4th I think it was. Well, I’m proud to think it was W Co, and we had nothing but compliments for a good many days after. I think we went mad somehow as we only wanted four trenches, but once we started they wouldn’t stop, and we had taken seven before we gave in, only we had to go back three because the others were left behind on either side of us. The last position we held was one taken by the Gurkhas. My word, what a sight it was! I suppose you are having a busy time now? The worst part out here is the water which it is a job to get, and we have known the meaning of the word ‘thirst’ above once, I can tell you, though it keeps getting better. Well, I suppose I must now close now hoping to be remembered to all old pals.”
A postscript was added that Mrs Cecil Crane had been officially informed that her husband was missing. No further news had been received by October 1915, In April 1916 the parish magazine reported that after 6 months of hoping Mrs Crane had been notified by the War Office that her husband must be regarded as killed in action on or about 6th August 1915. A memorial service was held on 7th March.
Source for additional information:
Cecil Harry Crane, Private, 4th Worcestershire Regiment (missing), resident Mill Cottages, appears on the 1918 Absent Voters List under the Parish of Badsey Polling District.