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Cecil Frederick George Humphries

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Headstone of Lieutenant Colonel Cecil Frederick George Humphries. Foncquevillers Military Cemetery, France. New Zealand War Graves Trust (FRGN2724). CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

Headstone of Lieutenant Colonel Cecil Frederick George Humphries. Foncquevillers Military Cemetery, …

Identity

  • Title
  • Forenames
    Cecil Frederick George AWMM
  • Surname
    Humphries AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
  • Date of birth
    27 October 1886 Public - Elizabeth Anne - Other relative - 14 August 2018 - New Zealand Birth records
  • Place of birth
    Mataura Public - Elizabeth Anne - Other relative - 14 August 2018 - New Zealand Birth records
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    WW1 Christchurch AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
  • Relationship status

Service

Wars and conflicts

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Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
    WW1 1914 AWMM EnglandUnited Kingdom AWMM
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment

Embarkations

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Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes
    Killed in Action, Cause of Death AWMM

Biographical information

Biographical information

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    • Son of Charles Humphries and Mrs. Ada R. Rowse (formerly Humphries), of "Aloha," Hinemoa St., Birkenhead, Auckland, New Zealand. AWMM
    • From: Otago Witness 4 September 1918.
      Lieut-Colonel C.F.G. Humphries, MC and Bar, DCM
      Cecil Frederick George Humphries had one of the most remarkable records of any officer who served with the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry in the Great War, being decorated for gallantry on no less than four occasions and rising from Private, in the Army Service Corps, to Lieut-Colonel, commanding a Regular Army Battalion. He was sent to France in August 1914 as a private soldier in the Army Service Corps, No. SS/207 where he worked in the S.S. Clerks Department at Le Havre. Transferring to the Manchester Regiment, he was awarded the DCM. The Manchester’s were part of the Jullundur Brigade and fought a desperate action in the mud and rain at the village of Givenchy. They began their attack at 3pm and found the village held in unexpected strength of the Germans. The enemy was cleared in bitter hand-to-hand fighting, having to be dislodged house by house. Some idea of the ferocity of the fighting can be imagined from the fact that only twelve prisoners were taken. At 6.30am the following day their commanding officer, Colonel Strickland, launched the battalion in a further attack, this time against the enemy trenches to the east of Givenchy. They came under a withering fire as every movement was clearly seen in the light of two burning haystacks behind them. No progress could be made and there were very heavy casualties. At 11am the enemy counter-attacked and the Manchester’s were forced to retire when the French on their left gave way. Despite this, by a supreme effort, they rushed the enemy and reoccupied their original trenches. Heavy casualties and the total exhaustion of the men made them very vulnerable and they were unable to withstand yet another counter attack made at 3pm in the afternoon. As they retired, many wounded men were carried back through the intense shrapnel and machine gun fire. It was then that Sgt. Humphries won his DCM, the officer concerned probably being a Captain Creagh. The Battalion had lost 66 officers and men killed, 126 wounded, with another 46 missing. Humphries was commissioned into the 12th Highland Light Infantry on the 10 June 1915 as a 2nd Lieut. and was promoted Lieut., on 26 September 1915. On 16th July 1916 he became a Captain. He was awarded the Military Cross on 1st September 1917. On 7th November, 1917 he was gazetted to the 1st Battalion, Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry to join them on 13 November, going to Italy on the 12 December 1917. During his service with the 1st Battalion he was awarded a Bar to the Military Cross. It seems most likely that this award was for the action fought by the Battalion near Caudescure during the German offensive on the Lys in April 1918. The Battalion had only just returned from Italy when they were hurried north to meet the enemy attack along the line of the River Lys. The enemy had made significant advances and an attempt was being made to establish a new line near the Foret de Nieppe. The Battalion had dug in close to the village of L'Epinette which was in the hands of the enemy. Unfortunately touch was not obtained with the troops on the left so that when an attack developed from this direction the Battalion found its flank turned. Although raked by machine gun fire from the village and the orchards round about, the Cornwalls hung on grimly, but the line gave way and the left company had to pivot round and reform whilst under heavy fire. It lost nearly half its strength in the process. The reserve 'C' company was ordered up to Caudescure Church and by 6pm a new line was firmly established. Further heavy enemy attacks were beaten off by the Battalion with the help of the four guns of the 95th Company MGC. He was promoted Acting Lieut-Colonel on 29th April 1918 and left to command the 1st Battalion Norfolk Regiment on 30th May 1918. The Norfolks were also part of 6th Division. The Division took part in the attack on the Somme on 21 Public - Elizabeth Anne - Other relative - 15 August 2018 - Papers Past. Otago Witness. 4 September 1918
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Death

About death

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  • Death
    22 August 1918 AWMM
    Age 31 AWMM
    FranceEurope AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
    Achiet le Petit, France Public - Elizabeth Anne - Other relative - 14 August 2018 - Otago Witness 4 September 1918.
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Foncquevillers Military Cemetery, Pas-de-Calais, France AWMM III. B. 8. AWMM
  • Cemetery name
    Foncquevillers Public - Elizabeth Anne - Other relative - 14 August 2018 - Military Personnel file
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference

Memorials

Memorial

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Sources

Sources

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Contributors

Command item
Command item
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DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
08 December 2018JeniferWairarapaResearcher
15 August 2018Elizabeth AnneMosgiel OtagoOther relative

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