Though there was no grave to salute I thought Iíd visit this cemetery in Leicester to see where Cecil had been cremated. He was born in Warwickshire, the eighth brother of nine (didn't his parents anything else do in the evenings?) Perhaps everything he had had been passed down to him (even his underpants) but perhaps not as his parents were wealthy, owning a share in a brick company. It was probable their son would join the army as his dad was one of nine brothers who were all soldiers. Mr and Mrs Knox must have been awfully worried as six of their sons fought in World War One and two were killed.
Not much is known about Cecil's war life. He was a qualified engineer and joined the 150th Field Company and fought in various countries. By the time he was 29 he was fighting in Tugny in northern France (east of Amiens.) On Friday 22nd March 1918 he had been tasked with blowing up 12 bridges. While under heavy gunfire he strapped explosives to the a steel girder on one of the bridges and returned to relative safety. When the fuse failed he had to return to it. By this time the enemy were on the bridge itself and putting him under a hail of bullets. Without hesitation he sprinted to the explosives, tore away the time fuse and lit the instantaneous fuse. Before they exploded he jumped down and got under the bridge before a section exploded. All 12 bridges were successfully wrecked by explosives.
Victoria Cross medals are normally pinned on chests at Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle but King George 5th was touring France and was at army headquarters in St Omer in France when he presented Cecil with his.
Away from war Cecil was married Eileen and they had a daughter Catrina. Between the wars he joined the Royal Auxiliary Air Force and took up flying. He had a serious parachute accident that ended any effective soldiering and returned home to Nuneaton. During World War II he was a Major in the Home Guard. Sadly one morning he skidded off his motorbike and suffered head injuries. He was rushed unconscious to Nuneaton General Hospital and his wife was called. Sadly she never saw Cecil recover consciousness and about three hours after the crash he died aged 53.
With flowers from his own garden on his coffin Cecil was cremated at the crematorium where Iím stood. In his later years he'd lived in his beautiful home in Nuneaton surrounded by a swimming pool, workshop, grounds and gardens. His ashes were sprinkled in the muck there (private - I canít get in.) His Victoria Cross was passed to his daughter. I did a heart salute to the chimney where some of Cecil floated out into the ether forever.
Cecil's daughter wearing the VC...
Cecil's ashes are buried here at the family home (but it's private)...