Private 12243 Cecil James Fraser

Killed in Action on Monday, 10th July 1916, age unknown.
Commemorated on Pier and Face 7 B of Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.

8th Bn., South Staffordshire Regiment. 51st Brigade of 17th Division.

Born: Southampton, Enlisted: Wednesbury, Resident: Tipton.

First landed Balkans, 6th October 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Not commemorated on any Tipton memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/750035/

Genealogical Data

In 1901 Cecil was not present in his mother's address in Wolverhampton. He appears to have been resident in an Orphanage in Essex, there isn't another Cecil James Fraser of the correct age.

1901 Census
73 Newhampton Road West, Wolverhampton, Staffs.
Charlotte Fraser (44, Widow, Stocking Knitting Machine Operator, born Kinver), and her 5 children: Alexandra (16, Contractor's Clerk, born East Dulwich),Albert H. (14, Draper's Apprentice, born East Dulwich), Jessie M. (13, born Portsmouth), Charles H. (5, born Woolston, Hants), and Elsie May (3, born Woolston, Hants).

1901 Census
Infant Orphan Asylum, Wanstead, Essex.
Cecil James Fraser (7, Infant an Orphan, born not stated).

1911 Census
86 Gospel Oak Road, Tipton, Staffs.
Charlotte Fraser (54, Widow, born Kinver), and 3 of her 8 surviving children of 9: Albert Henry (24, Colliery Clerk, born East Dulwich), Cecil James (17, Apprentice Pattern Maker, born Woolston, Hants), and Elsie May (13, School, born Woolston, Hants).

Personal Data

Cecil's Medal Index Card says that he first served in the Balkans. If this is correct, then he would have initially been with the 7th South Staffs before transferring to the 8th South Staffs.

Action resulting in his death

The 8th Battalion South Staffs, in 17th (Northern) Division, did not attack on the opening day of the Battle of the Somme, 1st July, but came into action the next day when they attacked and took Fricourt. This is commemorated in Fricourt by the naming of "Rue du Major Raper" after the senior officer who lead the attack. Following the success of capturing Fricourt, the advance continued slowly northwards towards Contalmaison, with numerous attacks on Quadrangle Support, just south of Contalmaison.

On the 10th July, the 8th South Staffs made the eighth attack on Quadrangle Support. This was at first successful, but they were compelled to withdraw after 3 costly hours due to the lack of progress on their flanks. However, during the evening, the Germans were seen to withdraw and Quadrangle Support was occupied by the 10th Sherwood Foresters, with the weakened South Staffs now in support.

The attack had been costly, with 56 South Staffs men being killed on the day, amongst them Cecil Fraser. Cecil has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald 14th October 1914
Ocker Hill Patriots join up.
Includes Cecil James Fraser.

Birmingham Daily Post 9th September 1916
The following casualties amongst warrant officers, non-commissioned officers, and men are reported under various dates:
South Staffordshire Regiment- Fraser, 12243, C.J., (Tipton).