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  • Photograph originally published in the 'Retfordian' magazine. Courtesy of John Palmer
Person Details
Paris France
Victor Cecil. known as Cecil, was born in Paris in 1895, the son of George and Edith Land (British citizens). An uncle, William John Jenkins, and three aunts, Elizabeth Dallas (née Howell), Mary Pothecary (née Howell) and Catherine Howell, were significant figures in Cecil's life. William was born in Llandganten, Brecon, in about 1858 (reg, Builth Breconshire). His mother Elizabeth Jenkins (née Williams m. Henry Jenkins 1855 reg. Builth Breconshire), was the sister of Mary Howell, mother of Elizabeth, Mary and Catherine. Elizabeth (b. abt 1864), Mary (b. 1866) and Catherine (b. 1868) were born in Michaelchurch, Escley, Hereford, the daughters of John and Mary Howell (née Williams m. 1863 reg. O/N/D Hereford). In 1871 John (69), a carpenter, and Mary (55) were living in Michaelchurch with their daughters Elizabeth (7), Mary and Catherine together with his stepdaughter, Edith Williams (14 b. 1856 O/N/D Worcester, mother's maiden name Williams). John and Mary were still at the same address in 1881 but only Mary (14) and Catherine (13) were still living at home. Elizabeth married William Dallas in 1887 (reg. Hereford) and she and her husband later lived in Retford with Cecil's army record giving her address as Marlborough House, Holly Road. Mary probably married George Pothecary in 1899 (reg. Hereford). Her widowed mother Mary Howell was living with them in 1901 and 1911 although prior to her daughter's marriage Mary had been living with her widowed sister Elizabeth Jenkins in Munsley, Michaelchurch, in 1891. Cecil arrived in Retford from France in about 1906 and in 1911 was living with his uncle, William John Jenkins (52), a widower, at 125 Thrumpton Lane, Ordsall. Also in the household were his unmarried aunt, Catherine Howell (43), who was William Jenkins' cousin and housekeeper, and a domestic servant, Elizabeth (Lizzie) Joynes. William Jenkins died of a seizure at his home on Thrumpton Lane on 29 May 1911 aged about 52. According to a newspaper report when his Will was published in July 1911, William was 'formerly of Manchester, engineer, head of Messrs WJ Jenkins & Co Ltd of Retford gas engineers formerly in the service of the Midland Railway Company and afterwards manager of West’s Gas Improvement Company, of Manchester, JP for Retford.' It is likely that Cecil then went to live with his aunt, Elizabeth Dallas as when he attested in September 1914 he gave his address as Marlborough House, Holly Road, Retford, which was his aunt's address. Elizabeth was still living there in 1916 when Cecil's possessions were returned to her. Elizabeth Dallas completed a form for the army in March 1920 listing Cecil's surviving blood relatives. His parents and grandparents were dead and he had no siblings. His surviving blood relatives were his three aunts, Elizabeth Dallas (56) and Catherine Howell (52) both of 'The Chestnuts', Pinewood Hill, Fleet, Hampshire, and Mary Pothecary (54) of Michaelchurch, Escley, Hereford,
He was a pupil at Retford King Edward VI Grammar School. Before enlisting he was serving his articles with the Humber Motor firm, Coventry,
02 May 1915
2938101 - CWGC Website
Marlborough House, Holly Road, Retford. Enlisted Retford
Lance Corporal
8th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
Enlisted as Cecil Land. Cecil enlisted in Retford in the Territorial Force (4 years service UK) on 8 September 1914 at the age of 19 years 91 days and served with 'C' Company (Sutton in Ashfield) 1/8th battalion Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment). He served in France from 2 March 1915 and was promoted unpaid lance corporal on 31 March. Cecil died of wounds in a field ambulance on 2 May 1915 and is buried in Loker Churchyard, Belgium (grave ref. II.B.5). The battalion's chaplain, Rev JP Hales, took the service. He qualified for the 1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. CWGC - History of Loker Churchyard (extract): 'Locre (now Loker) was in Allied hands during the greater part of the war, and field ambulances were stationed in the Convent of St. Antoine. The village changed hands several times between 25 and 30 April 1918, when it was recaptured by the French. The hospice, or convent, was the scene of severe fighting on 20 May, but was not retaken until first week in July. Loker Churchyard was used by field ambulances and fighting units from December 1914 to June 1917, and it contains two Commonwealth plots.' (www.cwgc.org)
CWGC headstone personal inscription: 'Rest in peace' Retford Times, 7 May 1915: 'Lance Corporal Cecil Land. More Territorial Casualties. Since writing the above, news has been received of the death of Lance Corporal Cecil Land, a nephew of Mrs Dallas and of Miss Howell of Holly-road, also of the 8th Sherwood Foresters (Territorials). The brave young man, who was only 19 years of age, was killed by a stray bullet last Friday and died in hospital in Belgium on Monday. He was buried the same day by the chaplain, the Rev J P Hales, in the field cemetery. He was an old Retford Grammar School boy.' Retford & Worksop Herald & North Notts Advertiser. 11 May 1915: ‘Retford Notes and News. Cecil Land. The death of Cecil Land is the deepest personal sorrow which this terrible war has brought home to us at present. Ever since he came to Retford at the age of eight years, when he was known at the Beehive works as the ‘little French boy’, right up to his last visit home before leaving for the Front, we have watched his career with interest, and the development of his singularly beautiful character with affection. Of a cheerful and sunny disposition he was a great favourite with everyone, and though he might have obtained a commission in the Engineers, he preferred to stick to his pals, one of whom had the mournful duty of assisting to convey him to the hospital, and to follow him to the grave in that little corder of sad memories the military graveyard at Kemmel. Cecil Land’s was one of those rare natures whom one counts as so many milestones in life, and we shall always look back with pleasure on an acquaintance which afforded us so much genuine pleasure.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Retford & Worksop Herald & North Notts Advertiser. 11 May 1915: ‘Retford Casualties: Death of Lce. Corpl. Cecil Land. It is with deep regret that we have to rcord the death in the trenches of Lce. Corpl, Cecil Land, relative of the late Mr WJ Jenkins, JP, head of the firm of Messrs Jenkins and Co. engineers. Cecil Land, as he was always known amongst his comrades, joined the 8th Notts and Derby Regt. along with Messrs. Gladish, Evans, Harold and David Tanner, ‘Jim’ Smith, Sid Lister and others, in the early stages of the war. In common with many Retford lads he was not attached to the Retford Company, but served with the ‘C’ (Sutton in Ashfield) Company. He was promoted on the same day as Lce-Corpl. Evans with whom he served and whose mournful duty it was to act as one of the stretcher bearers who conveyed him to the field hospital after he as struck by a glancing blow. His death came as a great blow to that merry band of patriots who used to pay such welcome visits back to the old town during their period of training at Luton, Braintree, and elsewhere. Although not apparently of strong physique, he stood the training well, and when he reached the Front his facilities as a linguist – he having been born in Paris – were in great request. Cecil Land's patriotism was of the highest order. At the time he joined the service he was serving his articles with the Humber Motor firm at Coventry, his ambition being later on to adopt aviation as his profession. Mrs Dallas and Miss Howell will receive the sympathy of a wide circle of friends in their bereavement.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Retford & Worksop Herald and North Notts Advertiser, 7 September 1915: Home From the Front. Interview with Sergt. D Canner [‘H’ Coy Sherwood Foresters] (extract). 'Most of our casualties have been from trench mortars, and the men we most miss are Sergt. Phillipson and Cecil Land, who were both very popular.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Registers of Soldiers' Effects: his three aunts were his legatees; Mrs Elizabeth Dallas (née Howell), Mrs Mary Pothecary (née Howell) and Miss Catherine Howell. Cecil's personal effects were returned to his aunt, Elizabeth Dallas, in January 1916 and comprised: purse containing watch, 2 coins and Imperial Service Badge, compass, identity disc, bible, memo book, 2 diaries, letters & photographs. Elizabeth Dallas also received his medals, scroll and plaque. The death of Cecil's uncle, William John Jenkins, on 29 May 1911, was widely reported in the local newspapers. Following the funeral at Ordsall All Hallows in June he was buried in All Hallows churchyard; the chief mourners included: 'Miss Charles, Mrs Pothecary, Miss Howell, Master Pothecary, Lizzie (maid), Mr & Mrs Dallas and Master Cecil Land'. A friend, Prof. Goodman, and his cousin Mary Pothercary were his executors and beneficiaries of his Will included his aunts Mary Charles and Mary Howell and his cousins Mary Charles, Elizabeth Dallas, Edith Laud(?Land), Mary Pothecary and Catherine Howell.
Remembered on


  • Photograph originally published in the 'Retfordian' magazine. Courtesy of John Palmer
    Victor Cecil Land - Photograph originally published in the 'Retfordian' magazine. Courtesy of John Palmer
  • CWGC headstone, Loker Churchyard, Belgium. Photograph courtesy of Murray Biddle.
    Cecil Land - CWGC headstone, Loker Churchyard, Belgium. Photograph courtesy of Murray Biddle.
  • Photograph published in the Retford & Worksop Herald, 11 May 1915. (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)
    Cecil Land - Photograph published in the Retford & Worksop Herald, 11 May 1915. (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)