Lieutenant Rupert Edward GASCOYNE-CECIL
4TH Bedfordshire Regiment
Date of birth: 20 January 1895
Date of death: 11 July 1915
Killed in action aged 20
Buried at 1 A 2 Railway Dugouts Burial Ground, Belgium.
Rupert Edward was born in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, the fourth son of The Revd Lord William Rupert Ernest Gascoyne-Cecil, a son of 3rd Marquis of Salisbury, and his wife Lady Florence Mary Booth Wilbraham, a daughter of 1st Earl of Lathom. His father was Rector of Hatfield and, from 1916-36, the Bishop of Exeter.
Educated at Westminster, he was up at Christ Church 1913-1914. During that year he rowed in the Torpids and was a keen campanologist. His name appears on the list of The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers memorial.
He joined the Public School Corps on the outbreak of war in August 1914 and obtained his commission in the 4th Bedfordshire Regiment on the 15th August, serving in France and Belgium.
He was killed in action near Ypres, on 11 July 1915 during a bombardment following the blowing up of a very large mine between the trenches by the Germans. He was buried close to the Ypres-Cominis Line in the Brigade Headquarters cemetery at the Railway Dugouts Burial Ground.
His commanding officer wrote “Your son was only with us, unfortunately, for a very short time, but he had endeared himself to all who knew him by his cheerfulness and soldierly qualities.” Captain Curtis also wrote “The Germans exploded a very large mine between two of our trenches about 7.15.p.m. and then shelled us, heavily. On hearing the explosion, your son immediately tried to get up to the fire trench of which he was in charge, but unfortunately he was struck on the head by a fragment of shell and was killed instantaneously. He was always beloved by all his fellow officers and above all by his men who had a great respect for him. We all feel the loss which the regiment has sustained by his death but we are proud he was doing his duty so nobly when he was killed. A good many men were stunned and confused by the explosion, but your son remained cool and met his death going to post.”
Two of his three brothers were killed in action.