4 November 1918 : Gnr Cecil French

Cecil French was born in January 1899 in Walthamstow

Location of Walthamstow in London's East End (cc OpenStreetMap)

Son of Arthur (a successful grocery and provision merchant) and Edith French. They lived above the shop at 159 Forest Row, Walthamstow N.E. 

159 Forest Row from an image capture of July 1911 (c) Google Maps 2021

Cecil French joined Blackhorse Road Boys’ School on 11 June 1906.

He left school in April 1913 and transferred to the Technical School.

Troops of the 1/16th Battalion, London Regiment (Queen's Westminster Rifles) man a field kitchen during training in Saffron Walden, 1915.  © IWM Q 53755

Cecil enlisted in January 1917 and served as a Gunner in the 1st/16th Battalion, the London Regiment (Queen’s Westminster Rifles).

Valenciennes - Mons Line. Land Pile driver at work on bridge over Honnelle River, Quievrain. November 1918. © IWM (Q 47230)

He was killed in action, a fortnight short of his nineteenth birthday, on 4 November 1918 during the crossing of the River Honelle.

Cecil French is buried in Sebourg Communal Cemetery, ten kilometres east of Valanciennes, with 18 other Commonwealth burials, all from 4 and 5 November 1918.

Pension Card for Cecil French from The Western Front Association digital archive on Fold3 by Ancestry

5549000 Gunner, 1st/16th Battalion, the London Regiment (Queen's Westminster Rifles)

Research by Malcolm J Doolin

Reference 'The Boys of Blackhorse Road. The Story of an Elementary School War Memorial', additional sources the English Census 1901, 1911.