Sunday, 15 June 2014

C A Colmer

Arthur Cecil Colmer
Born in 1893 in London.  Killed in Action 1 July 1916 in France
2nd Lieutenant Royal Field Artillery "A" Battery, 96th Brigade
Buried at Dartmoor Cemetery Becordel-Becourt

Arthur was the son of Arthur May Colmer and Anna Letitia Pateson.  Arthur and Anna married on 9 January 1892 in Great Queen Street Chapel.  Arthur's father was recorded as Oliver Colmer, a draper, whilst Anna's father, Reuben, was a toy importer.  The bridegroom, a native of Liskeard, listed his profession as "warehouseman", though he would go on to be a draper like his father.

The Colmers moved back to Liskeard sometime around 1895 and Arthur Snr set up shop as a tailor and outfitter on Pike Street.  By 1911, at the age of 43, Arthur had retired and was living in Looe. 18 year old Cecil (it's possible that the family called him Cecil rather than Arthur, so that's how I'm referring to him here) had followed his father into the drapery trade and was a tailor cutter working on his own account.  The family was completed by 16 year old Dorothy and Anna's sister Elizabeth who, like their father, was a toy importer.

Between 1911 and 1914 Cecil moved to Newquay and lived at "Hannafore" on Headland Road.

Cecil joined up fairly quickly on the outbreak of war.  He was posted to the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry and his medal card notes that he entered the theatre of war on 14 November 1914 (thus earning him a 1914 Star).  From the Cornwalls he moved to the Royal Engineers as a corporal, then went to the Royal Horse Artillery & Field Artillery as a Second Lieutenant on 10 September 1915.

Cecil was killed on the first day of the Battle of Albert, which formed part of the Battle of the Somme.  His battery would have been part of the bombardment of enemy lines on the days leading up to 1 July, the hope being that the shelling would leave the way clear for the infantry to advance unchallenged.  In the event this didn't happen.  The Germans were in their bunkers and emerged with their machine guns to pick off the British as they advanced.  More than 57,000 men fell, either wounded or killed, on that first day, 23 year old Cecil among them.

Cecil's sister, Dorothy, was the executrix of his will, in which he left £258 9s 3d.  Arthur and Anna retired to Bournemouth. Dorothy married, had four children and passed away just short of her 100th birthday in 1993.

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