Lance Corporal, Scots Guards, 2nd Bn.
Service no. 14265
Died on 24 August 1918, aged about 26
Remembered at Mory Street Military Cemetery, St Leger, France and on the Rainhill Asylum roll of honour, now in the care of Rainhill British Legion
Cecil Francis Seymour was born in 1892 at Christmas Common, Watlington, Oxfordshire, the youngest of Henry and Sarah Seymour’s eight children. At the time of the 1911 census, Cecil was working as part of the large domestic staff of the Scottish-born landed proprietor Charles Adrian James Butter and his American wife Agnes Marguerite at the Abbey, Witham, Oxford. Most of the staff were from Scotland.
On 9 August 1915 Cecil Francis Seymour volunteered in Liverpool for the Scots Guards. He had previously been working as an attendant at Rainhill County Lunatic Asylum in St Helen’s, Merseyside. His place of birth was either falsely given or incorrectly recorded as Edinburgh. In keeping with the Guards, Cecil Seymour was a tall individual at 5ft 11in. He was first sent to France on 5 October 1916 but suffered trench foot and a damaged ankle and was returned to England just after Christmas. This, and other illness, prevented him from being declared fit for active service until he returned to France on 30 March 1918.
While in England, on 30 April 1917 Cecil married widowed Amy Maria Petrie (née Carrett) at Holy Trinity, Clapham. Amy gave her address as 12 Landor Road. Her first husband Robert Alexander Petrie, a tailor, died on 7 May 1916 after being discharged from the Army with tuberculosis.
Petrie, an old soldier who had re-enlisted on 2 August 1914 in the Army Service Corps, had married Amy at St John’s, Newington on 5 April 1908, after six years service as a military tailor in the Scots Guards. His service record was incorrect, which meant that Amy had difficulty claiming her widow’s pension, so she turned to the Moffat Institute at Esher Street, Upper Kennington Lane, for help. Further assistance was given by the Lambeth Branch of the London War Pensions Committee before an award of 10 shillings a week was made in September 1916.
Cecil Seymour rejoined his battalion when the enemy were at their most active on the Western Front. The 2nd Scots Guard had suffered around 160 casualties during nine days of constant heavy shelling at the end of March 1918. There was little respite until July when the battalion had its first contact with US troops, but they had to endure a night of gas shelling in the final week of July. After a period of rest and training the battalion was ordered to attack and encircle the enemy at St Leger. Over the two days of 24/25 August 1918 the battalion suffered 16 other ranks killed and 94 wounded. Amy Maria had been made a widow for a second time.
A letter from the Ministry of Pensions dated 28 March 1919 informed Amy that as the widow of the late 14265 Lance Corporal C.F. Seymour 2nd Scots Guards she has been awarded a weekly pension of 13 shillings and ninepence. Four weeks later, a small parcel of her late husband’s effects was posted to her.
On 24 October 1923 37-year-old Amy departed England to start a new life in Australia. Her last address in the United Kingdom was recorded as 12 Landor Road.