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2nd Lieut ECR "Cecil" Christmas, KRRC


David Earley
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Hi

I am currently researching Cecil Christmas who died of wounds at  the Battle of Le Transloy  on 7 October 1916.

He enlisted as a private in June 1915, joining 1/28th (County of London) Battalion (Artist's Rifles), London Regiment.

On 6 March 1916, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant into 18th (Service) Battalion (Arts & Crafts) King's Royal Rifle Corps. The London Gazette of 17 March 1916 refers to him as a  "cadet" in the "Artists Rifles Officers Training Corps,", while that of 24 March 1916 effectively back-dates the commission to 20 December 1915.

I'm not clear why he joined the Artists Rifles - by occupation he was a publican, although he was also a keen amateur footballer, who played a few matches for Southampton FC. (See his entry on Wikipedia.)

Was their a formal relationship between the two battalions in which he served? Where would he have trained? Is the 20 December 1915 date significant?

Moving on to the end of his life, as he is commemorated at Thiepval although he died of wounds, I assume that he would have been buried, but his grave was subsequently lost as the war ebbed and flowed. Is there any way of finding out at which CCS he was when he died, or where he was originally interred?

 

Thanks as ever for any help, in understanding his story.

 

David

p.s. His file at TNA is at WO 339/55803 and the 18 KRRC war diary is at WO 95/2635/3

Edited by David Earley
typo
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Not the answer you're looking for, but it might be interesting if you haven't already found it...from the Hampshire Advertiser,Feb 23rd 1918.

Screenshot_20190719-131843.jpg

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Selling off his estate post war? I can't see another Edwin Christmas dying in the area around that time.

Screenshot_20190719-132736.jpg

Edited by sadbrewer
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Thanks "Sadbrewer", but I have seen both of those already. The auction of properties could have been him, or possibly his father, also Edwin, who died in January 1911. The probate papers give the father's estate at £14117 and Cecil's at £3460, so both were fairly wealthy.

 

David

Edited by David Earley
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  • David Earley changed the title to 2nd Lieut ECR "Cecil" Christmas, KRRC

I have this photo of Cecil Christmas. From the cap badge, is it possible to identify which of the two regiments he was with at the time?

1236634516_ECRCinuniform.jpg.d51aa11eabc47e1367ecdd115c71666d.jpg

 

David

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The Artists Rifles were partly used as an officers Training Unit in the Great War & from the wiki entry below it seems he could have joined on the reccomendation of an existing member.

 

 

Following the formation of the Territorial Force, the Artists Rifles was one of 26 volunteer battalions in the London and Middlesex areas that combined to form the new London Regiment. It became the 28th (County of London) Battalion of The London Regiment on 1 April 1908.

The Artists Rifles was a popular unit for volunteers. It had been increased to twelve companies in 1900 and was formed into three sub-battalions in 1914, and recruitment was eventually restricted by recommendation from existing members of the battalion. It particularly attracted recruits from public schools and universities; on this basis, following the outbreak of the First World War, a number of enlisted members of The Artists Rifles were selected to be officers in other units of the 7th Division. This exercise was so successful that, early in 1915, selected Artists officers and NCOs were transferred to run a separate Officers Training Corps, in which poet Wilfred Owen trained before posting to the Manchester Regiment the remainder being retained as a fighting unit. Over fifteen thousand men passed through the battalion during the war, more than ten thousand of them becoming officers. The battalion eventually saw battle in France in 1917 and 1918. Casualties suffered by both members of this battalion and amongst officers who had trained with The Artists Rifles before being posted to other regiments were 2,003 killed, 3,250 wounded, 533 missing and 286 prisoners of war. Ex-Members of the Regiment won eight Victoria Crosses (though none did so while serving with the Regiment), fifty-six DSOs and over a thousand other awards for gallantry.[

In the early 1920s, the unit was reconstituted as an infantry regiment within the Territorial Army, as the 28th County of London Regiment. In 1937, this regiment became part of The Prince Consort's Own Rifle Brigade.[13]

The regiment was not deployed during the Second World War, functioning again as an Officers Training Corps throughout the war.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artists_Rifles

 

1/28th (County of London) Battalion (Artist’s Rifles)
August 1914 : at Dukes Road, Euston Road. Army Troops attached to 2nd London Division. Moved on mobilisation to St Albans area.
28 October 1914 : left Division and moved to France. Established as an Officers Training Corps based at Bailleul, going in April 1915 to St Omer.
28 June 1917 : transferred to 190th Brigade in 63rd (Royal Naval) Division.

 

https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-british-infantry-regiments-of-1914-1918/london-regiment/

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On 19/07/2019 at 12:54, David Earley said:

Is there any way of finding out at which CCS he was when he died, or where he was originally interred?

 

The war diary entry for the relevant time brackets together 5th, 6th and 7th October.

 

It records him being killed in that period although the weekly strength summary, the Effects register and CWGC have 7 October 1916.  I would venture to suggest that he was not taken to a CCS. Your thought that he was buried and the location subsequently lost would make sense.  The 41 Div A&Q diary notes the difficulty bringing in wounded due to the exhaustion of stretcher bearers getting men to the Advanced Dressing Station at Thistle Dump. The 41 Div RAMC diaries make sobering reading regarding the difficulties encountered in that period with stretcher bearers carrying men for 18 miles in one case noted. 

 

The battalion left the area on 11th October.  In addition, there are, perhaps understandably,  minor record keeping anomalies between the diary narrative, the weekly strength summary, the Effects Register and CWGC entries for the officers killed in that engagement which would not add anything.

 

Max

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Hi David

I'm no expert but I have had a lot of support researching my granddad in the 18th/20th bn of KRRC. If you look on page 3 or 4 of Alfred Hopkins Company Sergt - Major you will see photos of him along with other Sergeants and Commissioned officers. Read the info with them as it may come in helpful. It is difficult to compare as grandad's pictures are of poor quality. Let me know if you gleam anything from them.

Denise

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