BRYAN Cecil Clive

Category: Military
Rank: Major
Regiment or Ship: 490th Field Company Royal Engineers
Occupation: Servant (1911 Census)
Date of Birth: 1875
Place of Birth: Stratford-on-Avon
Date of Death: 11.08.1917
Place of Death: France (on active service) Place of Burial / Memorials:

1) Reninghelst New Military Cemetery, Poperinge, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium, Grave Reference: III. B. 2. (CWGC).

2) Memorial in the stall in St. Wilfred’s Lady Chapel (from the records of the Old Boys of Holyrood School, Bognor Regis, Sussex.

3) Bexhill Memorial on Seafront.

Address: 1) 22 Arden Street, Stratford upon Avon 2) Holmwood School, Hastings Road, Bexhill

Photos and newspaper articles

Family Information

Parents:       William Bryan, born 1826, at Claverdon, in Warwickshire, and Elizabeth Bryan, born 1835, at Claverdon, Warwickshire


Alfred F. Bryan               born 1863                    18            Seetapore, East Indies.

Herbert W. Bryan            born 1868                    13            Portsmouth, Hampshire.

Wilfred Bryan                  born 1870                    11            Shorncliffe, Kent.

Theresa F. Bryan             born 1872                    9              Stratford-on-Avon.

First World War Experience

None of Cecil’s Service Records has been found but there are references in such things as school magazines, official registers, and newspapers and, from these, we learn:-

According to the London Gazette, dated December 1st 1908, he had been a cadet in the Cadet Corps, at the University and St. Leonard’s Collegiate Schools, Hastings, which he had joined on 2nd August 1907. On 18th June 1908, he received the rank of lieutenant in the 2nd Home Counties Field Company (Home Counties Divisional Engineers).

From the “Supplement to the London Gazette, 14 January, 1916”, page 575: –

Captain (temporary Major) Cecil Clive Bryan, 1st Home Counties Field Company, Royal Engineers, Territorial Force.

The 2nd Home Counties Field Company, Royal Engineers was a unit of the Territorial Force based in St-Leonards-On-Sea and Bexhill, part of the Home Counties Divisional Royal Engineers. They were later re-designated 491st (2nd Home Counties) Field Company and joined 5th Division.

Cecil was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (D.S.O.), but when, and for what, has not been discovered.

Additional Information

Cecil was baptized on 4th July 1875 at the Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire

In the 1911 census, Cecil is entered as a servant at Holmwood School, in Bexhill, while his brother, Arthur, is the head.

As a young lad, Cecil attended Holyrood School, in Bognor Regis; it was a purpose designed new building, constructed in the 1880s in Victoria Drive, opposite the playing fields where St. Wilfred’s church was built, in 1910 – which gives the connection to St. Wilfred’s Church, where his name, as “C. C. BRYAN”., appears on the memorial.


Later, as an older pupil, Cecil went to King Edward VI’s school, Stratford-upon-Avon and is commemorated in their Old Edwardian’s Association’s newsletter, of summer 2014. There is an article on the school’s “Lost XV”, a reference to their Rugby Football team, of which Cecil was, obviously, a member. The article says, “On Saturday, August 9th, 29014, Stratford upon Avon RFC will be marking the centenary of the conflict [WW1] and seeking to recognise the sacrifice made by our former players.”

Among the list appears the following: –

“Cecil Clive BRYAN, DSO”

“Died 11th August 1917”

“Major, Royal Engineers”

“Reninghelst New Military Cemetery, Belgium”


The following entry appears in the “National Probate Register”, for the year 1917:-

BRYAN Cecil Clive of Holmwood College Hastings-road Bexhill-on-Sea Sussex Major R.E. D.S.O. died 11 August 1917 in France on active service. Probate London 24 November to Alfred Francis Bryan schoolmaster and Joseph Lewis Arlidge solicitor. Effects £1078 5s 1d.”

£1078 5s 1d today would be worth, very approximately, £400,000.

For those interested in discovering more about Cecil’s story, a book, written by Richard Pearson, was published in 2010. It is entitled “The Boys of Shakespeare’s School in the First World War” and gives reasonable biographies of each of the fifteen boys, from that school, who died in the Great War, and one of those is Cecil Clive Bryan.

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