Cyril and Christopher Fawcett

Timelines: Ribbon of Remembrance Cyril and Christopher Fawcett

Paul Goad, a resident of Frenchgate and local history enthusiast submitted his research on one of the families from Frenchgate at the time of the Great War.

The Fawcett family lived at 55 Frenchgate, Richmond throughout the First World Ward. John Fawcett, who worked in agriculture and construction, lived here with his wife Elizabeth Grace, daughter Elizabeth Alice and two sons, Christopher and Cyril Edgar. John was born in Castle Bolton in Wensleydale, Elizabeth Grace in Thornton Buckinghamshire and all three children hailed from the small parish of Walburn, Downholme a little way up Swaledale from Richmond.

At the outbreak of hostilities Christopher was 20 and Cyril 14. As the eldest, Christopher was the first to enlist on 27th November 2015, three months shy of his 22nd birthday. Prior to enlistment he worked as a butcher, a profession he continued after the war. In January 1916 he joined the 4th Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry. The 4th DLI were a reserve Battalion and were station at Seaham Harbour from 1915 through to the end of the War. Records confirm that Christopher was based at Seaham from 1916 to June 1918 serving in D Company. A copy of a charge sheet shows that Christopher was late returning from leave on June 12th 1916 for which he was forfeited 1 days pay.

In October 1917 Cyril enlisted at the age of 18 years and 1 month, giving his trade as a Motor Driver. Despite his Attestation papers suggesting that he was interested in joining the Royal Naval Air Service he was posted to the 22nd Battalion Durham Light Infantry. Following initial training Cyril joined his Battalion in France on April 1st 1918. In May as part of the 8th Division the Battalion was moved to a ‘quiet’ part of the front south of the River Aisne. When the Germans attacked on 27 May, the 22nd Battalion, although Pioneers fought as infantrymen. Losses were significant with Cyril being one of the many casualties killed in action. He was posthumously awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal.

At the time of his brother’s death Christopher was hospitalised in Seaham Infirmary with influenza. In late 1918 Christopher was transferred to the 12th Battalion DLI and joined them in Italy. In July 1919, still in Italy, he was transferred to the 22nd Battalion the Manchester Regiment. He returned to England in October 1919 before being demobilised in November. He too, was subsequently awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal.

It would seem from his records that he returned to his pre-war employer Sykes and Sons Butchers. Christopher married Edith Bickerdike in the autumn of 1930 and they had two children Margaret and David. Christopher continued to live in Richmond until his death in 1960.

The home of Cyril and Christopher Fawcett in Frenchgate

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