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  • The advance of 1st Battalion The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment near Le Touret 21/12/1914. Cecil Long was captured as the Loyals were forced to retire a day later.
Person Details
Swindon, Wiltshire
He was the son of Charles and Jane Long and the brother of Charles Henry Long [also killed serving with 1st Battalion The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment (28/9/1914)] and Edith Annie Jackson (née Long). In 1881, they lived at 11, Court Street, Radford Road, Hyson Green, Nottingham. In 1911, they lived at 15, Raleigh Street, Nottingham. By 1901, Jane, employed as a domestic nurse, lived at 5, Bright Row, Hyson Green. She later lived at 22, Vicarage Street, Huntingdon Street, Nottingham. Long's Army Service Record includes correspondence suggesting that his domestic life was complicated. 'Florence Long' requested a pension. However, a letter from an officer reports 'she is not the wife of Lance Corporal Long but lived with him for 8 years and has had one child aged 3 years.' She is described as ' a respectable, hard working person.' The record adds Mrs Long's 'correct name is Florence Read.' Long's pension record suggests Florence applied in the name of Long but that she was an 'unmarried wife'. Jane Long, Cecil's mother, also applied. (UK, WWI Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914-1923, 11/D/72940) A further letter from A Boyd (Mrs) claims 'L/C Long was a married man when he married her (Florence presumably) but the wife had been dead 5 years and she had it for herself and child. Separation allowance.' There exists no record of a marriage between Cecil Long and Florence Read.
He was a carpenter upon enistment.
31 Mar 1915
895705 - CWGC Website
He enlisted at Preston.
Lance Corporal
1st Bn Loyal North Lancashire Regiment
Cecil Edward Long was a regular soldier. He attested 21/10/1898 as Edward Long at Preston standing 5' 4" and weighing 120 lbs. He claimed to be 20 years and eleven months old but was actually 5 years older (b. O/N/D/1873). He was posted 12/1/1899 and promoted lance corporal 22/9/1900. He served in the UK until 7/5/1901 and then in the Mediterranean until 9/4/1904 as part of a force occupying military garrisons such as Gibraltar, Malta and Egypt. This allowed other troops to be available for the Second Boer War. On 31/8/1910, he re-enlisted for 'such term to complete 21 years service.' Despite incidents of minor insubordination and drunkenness, Long's character was described by the army as 'VG'. 1st Bn Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, as part of 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, was one of the first British units to reach the continent in 1914. They travelled from Le Havre into Belgium where the reality of their position soon became clear. 'A flying officer,' noted The Diary of a Second Lieutenant, included in the battalion war diary '... has been up in his plane and seen thousands of Germans; these we are to meet with four Divisions!' As the BEF retreated following fierce fighting around Mons on August 23rd, the Lancashires passed through Soissons, Villers-Cotterets and Coulommiers until, on September 5th, they reached Bernay. '...we are told we shall not retire any more; the great retreat is ended and we shall move forward soon.' Long's battalion fought in the Battles of the Marne and Aisne before becoming entrenched around Troyon later in September. Long survived shelling near Troyon on 28th September which killed his brother Charles Henry Long (see CHL's record on this website). The battalion participated in several phases of the First Battle of Ypres during autumn 1914 - at Bixsencote on October 25th and Hooge on November 11th for instance and 69 men from Long's unit died near Gheluvelt on October 31st. 'You cannot see parts of the village (Gheluvelt), noted "a second lieutenant", 'for the smoke and dust coming from bursting shells. Bullets seem to come from all directions... men are dropping like flies all around us... We now have to sit under a terrible shelling in shallow trenches...The men are by this time very shaky but hold out splendidly.' On December 21st, 1914, the unit moved from the Ypres salient ‘by motor omnibus to Zelobes... and thence to Le Touret. (France).’ They were ordered with 1st Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment to retake trenches captured by the Germans between 19th and 20th December. ‘The men carried 170 rounds with them and tools were brought up,’ the diary records. ‘ The battalion took the right of the line and the Northamptons the left, the whole frontage covered being about 300 yards. At 7pm the order to advance was given by Major Powell and the whole line moved forward with fixed bayonets... we charged and re-occupied the front line of the enemy’s trenches. After a short halt, the attack was continued and another trench about 100 yards further on was captured... we had lost about 40 men killed or wounded. The night was very wet and cold and the men only had their iron rations. Shortly after daybreak (22/12/1914) a very strong German attack developed from the direction of La Quinque Rue and by 10am the line became untenable chiefly owing to the enfilade fire from our right flank which was very exposed. After suffering very heavy losses and putting up a very stubborn defence, the retirement commenced from the left and about 300 men succeeded in reaching the Rue de Bois. At about 3pm, the battalion was withdrawn and went into billets at La Couture. Our loses were (6 officers named) and 408 other ranks killed, wounded or missing' (89 dead, CWGC + 39 1st Bn Northamptonshire Regiment fatalities). Cecil Edward Long was captured during this action (missing since 22/12/1914, Long's ASR). He died of typhus at Wittenberg whilst a prisoner of war. The camp at Wittenberg gained a notoriety for atrocious conditions: insufficient food, grossly overcrowded with 15,000 men in a small area, no changes of clothing and insufficient sanitation. Prisoners were routinely flogged and terrorised with savage dogs. When typhus broke out in late 1914, German medical staff abandoned the camp. All prisoners were confined together making the epidemic worse. Local civilains were allowed to jeer as coffins were removed. There were between 250 and 300 English cases and 60 deaths. Long's death was confirmed in 'a list sent by Coy Sgt Major R Copley, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, prisoner of war Wittenberg, of prisoners who died of typhus between 16/2/1915 and 20/4/1915' (letter dated 15/8/1915 from The Officer I/C Records, Infantry Record Office Preston [Long's ASR]). CWGC records 112 British soldiers dying in Germany during this period. 54 including 9 other 1st Battalion Loyal North Lancashire men, were like Cecil Long, buried in Berlin. They were probably all Wittenberg typhus victims. The Loyal North Lancashires were Lance Corporals Percy Antropus Almond and Harry Best, Privates John Cassidy, John William Clark, Edward William Ellis, Nathaniel Lomax, William Saunt, Joseph Wilfred Ward and Philip Wright.
Cecil Edward Long's personal effects included 2 photos and a 10 Mark note. Berlin South-Western Cemetery, Grave Reference: XIII D 1 Arriving in France 27/8/1914, Cecil Edward Long qualified for the 1914 Star. It is probable that typhus, spread through body lice, reached Wittenberg Camp from the east. ‘On the Eastern Front,’ according to the Microbiology Society, ‘intense shelling of Serbian cities destroyed the existing infrastructure and drove the population to the streets, and at least 20,000 Austrians were taken prisoner by the Serbs. There was a lack of physicians and other medical professionals because they had been seconded to the army, which led to the rapid collapse of the health status of defenceless populations. Malnutrition, overcrowding and a lack of hygiene paved the way for typhus. In November 1914, typhus made its first appearance among refugees and prisoners, and it then spread rapidly among the troops. One year after the outbreak of hostilities, typhus killed 150,000 people, of whom 50,000 were prisoners in Serbia. A third of the country’s doctors suffered the same fate. The mortality rate reached an epidemic peak of approximately 60 to 70%. On the Western Front, although body lice were also endemic among the troops, there was no outbreak of typhus. The situation lacked the R. prowazekii bacteraemia to trigger a typhus epidemic, as had happened on the Eastern Front. Another disease, described for the first time and also vectored by the body louse, was raging in the trenches among the troops. It is caused by the bacterium Bartonella quintana and was named trench fever.’ The spread of typhus, like the movement of Great War soldiers, was probably accelerated by railways. POW camps were occupied by assortments of nationalities so typhus could have been imported to Wittenberg by prisoners from Serbia, by labourers or guards transferred from the east. Once established at Wittenberg, typhus raged through the camp in conditions mirroring the absence or order, care and sanitation in occupied Austria. Research by David Nunn Sources: Sources: Cecil Edward Long's Army Service Record (ASR) 1st Bn The Loyal North Lancashire Battalion War Diary (TNA WO95/1270/1) Typhus in World War One, Microbiology Society (29/5/1914, on line), Courtesy of Julian Putkowski
Remembered on


  • The advance of 1st Battalion The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment near Le Touret 21/12/1914. Cecil Long was captured as the Loyals were forced to retire a day later.
    1st Bn The Loyal North Lancashire Battalion War Diary (TNA WO95/1270/1) - The advance of 1st Battalion The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment near Le Touret 21/12/1914. Cecil Long was captured as the Loyals were forced to retire a day later.