Service Number 40432
Regiment Royal Tank Regiment
Buried St.Oswald's Churchyard, Collingham
Cecil Ernest Curtis was born on the 4th October 1876 in Lewisham, the son of Robert James Curtis.
Cecil joined the army and served in the Boer War, being awarded the South Africa Medal and 3 clasps (Defence of Kimberley, Orange Free State and Transvaal) and the Kings medal and 2 clasps. This was awarded to him on the 15th July 1901 in Mafeking, and he was also awarded the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.
Cecil's army service started on the 20th May 1895 when he joined the army. After basic training he was posted, on the 24th August 1895 to the 2nd Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. On the 22nd October 1896, he went with the 2nd Loyal North Lancs to Ceylon for service there. During this time Cecil was promoted to Lance Corporal on the 22nd December 1896. Cecil's service in Ceylon lasted about two and a half years until 10th February 1899, when he left Ceylon with his regiment for service in the Boer War in South Africa.
Cecil was promoted three times during his time in South Africa - corporal on the 4th June 1899, Lance Sergeant on the 17th July 1901 and Sergeant on the 23rd December 1901. On the 18th September 1902, Cecil was back in the UK and he continued his service in the UK through the pre-war years, being permitted to extend his period of service to 12 years on the 7th October 1902.
On the 27th January 1909, Cecil married Jane Jamieson in Eltham.
Cecil's regular army career continued with promotion to Colour Sergeant on the 19th June 1910 and on census day 1911, Cecil was still at this rank stationed at the Bhurtpore Military Barracks in South Tedworth, Hants.
Tragedy struck Cecil's life early in 1912 when his wife, Jane, died of consumption on the 11th January 1912, but his army career continued - he was posted D Acting Sergeant on the 13th October 1913 and just after the War commenced Cecil was appointed as Company Quartermaster Sgt in the 3rd Battalion Loyal North Lancashire regiment on the 1st September 1914.
Cecil remarried on the 27th September 1914 in Preston to Frances Maria Abicent.
On the 19th April 1915, Cecil was appointed the Acting Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant in the 3rd Battalion. Then on the 14th May 1916 Cecil went to France and on the 18th May was transferred to the Armoured Section Motor Machine Gun Section and appointed as Quartermaster Sergeant.
On the 31st August 1916, Cecil Ernest Curtis was discharged after 21 years and 102 days service from the Heavy Section of 2nd Battalion Machine Gun Corps (Tank Corps) on appointment to a commission the following day (1st September 1916) as Lieutenant and Quartermaster of Heavy Section Machine Gun Corps.
Cecil was promoted to the rank of Captain and Equipment Officer on the 14th November 1916.
Cecil must have returned to the UK at some point because he went back to serve in France on the 14th May 1917 embarking in Southampton and disembarking the following day in Le Havre.
Cecil was granted leave in the UK from 21st January 1918 until the 4th February 1918. On the 5th he rejoined from leave, but was transferred to home establishment on the 12th February 1918 and he relinquished his role as equipment officer on the 25th February when he became Adjutant.
Cecil re-embarked on the 8th July 1918 disembarking the following day. He was granted another leave period in the UK from 12th December 1918 until the 26th December but this was extended until the 28th December.
On the 21st February 1919, Cecil returned to the UK and reported for duty.
Cecil Ernest Curtis was mentioned in despatches on the 10th July 1919. He was finally released from military service on the 1st August 1920.
On return to the UK Cecil became the manager of the Old Star in Collingham and was one of the founding members of Collingham Royal British Legion.
He died in 1939 and is buried in Collingham.
1911 Census. The National Archives. Class RG14 Piece 06336
First World War Medal Index Cards. The National Archives (WO372).
First World War Medal Index Rolls. The National Archives (WO329).
First World War Officer's Service Records WO339/82222 The National Archives.
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