First World War Roll of Honour
Frederick Rotheram Cecil was the eldest son of Mr. Rotheram Cecil and Mrs. Henrietta Jervis Cecil (née Girling) of Manor House, Dronfield, Derbyshire. He was born in London in 1892, and came to Downing College from the Rectory House school in Steeple Morden, near Royston, in 1912. He was resident in College until the outbreak of war in 1914.
After going down from Cambridge he joined the 28th Battalion (London Regiment) Artists Rifles’ Officers' Training Corps and should have gone out to France in November 1916, but was recorded to have been ‘incapacitated by an attack of influenza’ and on 29th October he was given sick leave. On 7th November 1916 Cecil was absent from Roll Call at Hare Hall Camp and was never seen alive again. He was found drowned in the Serpentine Lake, Hyde Park, on 21st December 1916, age 24.
The circumstances that led up to the tragic event were shrouded in mystery at the time and we can only assume that being rejected and concerns about the fate of Cecil’s younger brother Rotheram Bagshawe Cecil had also affected him. Rotheram Bagshawe Cecil, a 2nd Lieutenant with a distinguished record of service had been reported missing since July 1916, and is recorded as one of over 500 soldiers in the Sherwood Foresters Regiment who fell on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, on 1st July 1916.
Surviving records indicate both his friends and contemporaries were much shocked to learn of Frederick’s death and their expression of sympathy for his widowed mother, Mrs Henrietta Jervis Cecil.
Image: Cecil Window Memorial Courtesy of Jenny D & the War Memorial Trust (2013).
Frederick Rotheram Cecil is remembered with his brother in a stained glass memorial window dedicated by their mother in 1927 at Dronfield (St. John the Baptist) Church and Churchyard. He is also commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
The Griffin, Michaelmas 1916.
Ancestry.com. British Army WWI Service Records, 1914-1920 [online].
Hawley, Z. The 566 men from Derbyshire's regiment who died on the first day of the Somme. Derbyshire Times, 1 July 1916. Available online.
The Evening News (Portmouth), 23 December 1916, p. 5.