On this day in 1917, Cecil Charles Kentsbeer (1893-1917) was killed on the Western Front.
A corporal in the 1st Battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment, he was one of four brothers who fought in the Great War.
His brother, Herbert Henry Kentsbeer (1881-1917) died of wounds sustained in action in the Third Battle of Ypres on October 15, 1917, aged 36.
Cecil was 24 when he lost his life on April 11, 1917 in the First Battle of Scarpe – part of the month-long Battle of Arras in which British forces suffered almost 160,000 casualties.
His death was announced in The Western Times on May 8, 1917.
Cecil served in the 6th Battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment before joining the 1st Battalion.
The 6th served in Gallipoli and the Middle East before embarking for France in 1916, fighting in the Battles of Thiepval, Messines, Langemarck and Polygon Wood in 1916 and 1917, and the Battles of Scarpe, Cambrai and Sambre in 1918.
The 1st fought on the Western Front throughout the war, including the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917.
The Lincolnshire Regiment raised 19 battalions during the war and lost 8,800 officers and men between 1914 and 1918.
Cecil is remembered on the Arras Memorial – which commemorates almost 35,000 British, South African and New Zealand soldiers with no known grave – and on Topsham War Memorial and the Exeter Roll of Honour.
Cecil’s brother, Alfred Frank Baker Kentsbeer (1891-1920) was a private in the 10th (Service) Battalion of the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry (the Cornwall Pioneers) and in the 1/5th Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment. He died in 1920, aged 29.
Alfred married Eliza Snell (1889-1979) at the Church of the Holy Cross in Crediton on August 3, 1914 – the day before Britain declared war on Germany. Eliza was the daughter of John Snell (1852-1926) and Emma Gillard (1854-1932). John was the son of John Snell (1822-1865) and Sarah Pridham (1826-1898). John was the son of Robert Snell (1790-1854) and Ann Adams (1799-1824), Robert was the son of Robert Snell (1754-1838) and Sarah Roberts (1760-1837). Sarah was the daughter of William Roberts (1738-), my great-great-great-great-great grandfather.
Cecil was the son of Henry Kentsbeer (1854-1936) and Emma Jane Baker (1859-1948), who for many years lived in Lower Shapter Street, Topsham. Born in 1893 in Topsham, he was a gardener’s labourer in 1911, and living with his sister, Bertha Emma, in Countess Wear, Exeter.
Arras Memorial, on which Cecil is remembered, and Fauberg-D’Amiens Cemetery. Photographed on September 7, 2010 by Carcharoth (Commons) – CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Arras_Memorial_and_Fauberg-D%27Amiens_Cemetery_14.JPG