Cecil George Gardner

233508, Private, “A” Company. 2nd Battalion, London Regiment.

Died on the 29th May 1919.

Cecil was the son of John & Ann Gardner. Very little is known about his early life but when he enlisted in the Army he was living in Albert Street, Stevenage. His sister, Jessie, was the publican of the North Star in the High Street.

Cecil’s military career was a relatively short one. He was called up for service in the Army on the 18th April 1916 at the age of 28 and requested that he be posted to the Grenadier Guards. However, following his initial training, he was posted to the 2nd Entrenching Battalion of the City of London Royal Fusiliers. He embarked for service in France on the 29th August 1916, arriving in Le Harve the next day. After initial acclimatisation he joined his unit on the 18th September in the Combles sector of the Somme. At this point in the war the Battle of the Somme was well under way and fighting in the area was both bitter and heavy.

On the 27th September, just 10 days after his arrival, Cecil was wounded by shellfire and received serious injuries to his buttocks and right foot. Although the wounds in his buttocks healed quite quickly, doctors felt that his condition was serious enough for a decision to be made to remove his right leg. Initially, his leg was amputated below the knee, but it failed to heal properly and Cecil had to undergo a further two amputations, eventually ending with an amputation some six inches above the right knee. On the 6th October 1916 he was transferred to the UK, having spent a total of 39 days in France.

After a long process of recovery he was finally discharged from service in the Army on the 20th June 1917 and received his Silver War Badge, numbered  199042, on the 22nd July 1917.  He lived in several different locations within the town bit spent a majority of his time living with his elder sister, who was now the landlord of the Dun Cow public house in Letchmore Road.

He was fitted with an artificial leg but his health remained poor. In April 1919 he was diagnosed as suffering with Pulmonary Tuberculosis and died on the 29th May 1919. He is buried at St.Nicholas churchyard, Stevenage.

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal & Silver War Badge.

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