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War Memorials

In Memory of
Private 15398
1st Battalion Coldstream Guards
Who was killed in action on Wednesday, 15th September 1916
Age 26

No Known Grave. Pier & Face 7D & 8D
Thiepval "Memorial to the Missing", Somme, France

Commemorated in Perpetuity
by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Remembered with Honour
Thiepval Memorial

Thiepval "Memorial to the Missing", France1

Cecil Samuel Jackson was born in Barnstone, Notts in 1890 2, the third child, second son of Thomas (b. c1860, Blidworth, Notts) and Jane Anderson Jackson (b. c1863, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Notts née Shore). As a policeman, Thomas moved around Nottinghamshire, with his family, from time to time. In 1901 the family, then including four children, was living at 2 Windsor Street, Beeston3. By 1911, the family had moved to neighbouring Ruddington, Nottinghamshire4. By this time, Thomas had been promoted the police sergeant. Cecil had, however, left home to work as a railway station porter and was boarding with a fellow porter's family at Newton, near Alfreton, Derbyshire5.

As Cecil's Army Service Record has not survived, we do not have a precise record of when he enlisted with the Coldstream Guards, but it is believed to have been sometime in February 19156. He become part of 1st Battalion which had been stationed at Aldershot when war broke out on 4 August, part of 1st (Guards) Brigade of 1st Division and had left for France on 13 August as part of the British Expeditionary Force, taking part in many of the early actions alongside two other Coldstream battalions, including Mons, the Marne, and the Aisne before being committed to the defence of Ypres where, on 31st October 1914, 1st Battalion took such heavy casualties at the Battle of Gheluvelt that it almost ceased to exist. In the autumn of 1915, the battalion took part in the Battle of Loos, a major attack by British and French units which sought to restore movement in a war that had become bogged down. The attacks were a failure and British losses were extremely high. Having completed his training, joined the depleted battalion in France on 2nd November 1915. By this date the battalion had been transferred to 2nd (Guards) Brigade in the same Division.7.

In the summer of 1916, the battalion took part in the Battle of the Somme which commenced disastrously on July 1st with great loss of life. The first phase, which continued for almost two weeks, was followed by its involvement in the equally disastrous Battle of Bazentin Ridge and Battle of Pozieres. It was on the first day of the subsequent Battle of Flers–Courcelette, alongside tanks which were being used for the first time. As it advanced, behind a creeping barrage, the battalion, as part of 2nd Guards Division, faced heavy machine-gun fire but managed to reach and destroy the enemy positions. Private Jackson was amongst the many casualties.8.

Private Jackson's body was never identified and he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing which now stands adjacent to the Leipzig Redoubt. The memorial was unveiled on the 1st August 1932 by the then Prince of Wales and is the largest British War Memorial in the world. Standing 150 feet high, it dominates the surrounding area. The memorial stands on a concrete raft 10ft thick, built 19ft below the ground, the solution to the problems of building over the warren of tunnels that formed the German second line. Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens the memorial has sixteen masonry piers, where can be found, on the panel faces, the names of some 72,000 British and 830 South African soldiers who died and have no known grave, during the period starting in July 1915, when the British Third Army took over from the French, through the Somme battles of 1916, until 20th March 1918, the eve of the last great German offensive on the Somme. The focal point of the memorial is the Stone of Remembrance, which lies under the great arch and centrally between the piers, for which Rudyard Kipling chose a quotation from Ecclesiasticus, "There name liveth forevermore".

Private Jackson was posthumously awarded the 1914/15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal9. In his 'Soldiers Will' he left his belongings to his father and, consequently, he was paid his financial effects of £14 7s 5d on 6 February 1917 and his War Gratuity of £7 on 16 September 1919. By this time, Thomas had retired from the police service and had settled in Beeston with his wife and daughter, first at 5 Collins Street then 45 Denison Street and, finally, 'Homeland', 91 Imperial Road. Thomas died in 1929, his wife in 1942 and his daughter in 1962. All three are buried together in Beeston Cemetery. Their memorial also remembers Cecil and his brother Evalyn Arthur, who died of wounds in France in 1918.10.

1The photograph of the Thiepval Memorial is from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. (http://www.cwgc.org)
2His birth was registered in Bingham Registration District (of which Barnstone was part) in Q3/1890 (Ref 7b 419)
3Beeston, Notts, 1901 Census, Piece 3153 Folio 143
4Ruddington, Notts, 1911 Census, 7 Station Road, Ruddington - Piece 20482 RD429 SD7 ED2 Schedule 27
Cecil's siblings were Alica (or Celia) Shore Jackson (b. c1884), Thomas (b. c1887), Evalyn (or Evelyn) Arthur (1896-1918) and Douglas Reginald (1905-1971)
5Newton, Derbyshire, 1911 Census, Piece 20303 RD428 SD3 ED4 Schedule 220
6This date has been calculated based on the amount of his War Gratuity, and is supported by his service number.
7Details of the battalion in the early part of the war is based on its history on the Forces War Records website (www.forces-war-records.co.uk/units/242/coldstream-guards/)
8As the Battalion's war diary for this period appear not to have survived, this account of the battalion's involvement in the Somme battles is based on the Forces War Records website and Wikipedia entries for the individual battles.
9Details from Cecil's Medal Card and Medal Rolls - available on ancestry.com. The card also confirms his embarkation date of 2 November 1915.
10Details of the payments are from the "Army Register of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929" - available on ancestry.com. The amount of the gratuity tends to indicate that Cecil enlisted in February 1915.
His parents are recorded at the Imperial Road address in Cecil's Commonwealth War Graves Commission memorial records and the Denison Street address in his brothers CWGC record. The Collins Street address was given when Thomas applied for Administration of Evelyn's estate in 1918.

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