FRENCH, Cecil John

Removed from Wingham as not on stone, placed in none

1st World War
Date of Birth
Date Attested
Date of Death
Age at Death
Biographical Summary

DIVISIONAL UNIT:         4th Canadian Infantry Division
                                             10th Infantry Brigade
                                             46th Battalion – South Saskatchewan
                                             4th Battalion Canadian Machine Gun Corps
                                             4th Canadian Machine Gun Company
                                             Canadian Machine Gun Corp
RESIDENCE:                     Chicago – Illinois – USA 
AWARDS:                          Military Cross
DATE OF BIRTH:            October 2, 1893
                                             Ridgetown - Ontario
DATE OF DEATH:           September 28, 1918             24 years    11 months
CEMETERY:                     Anneux British Cemetery – Anneux – 
                                             Nord – France
                                             II     H     7
FATHER:                           Mr. Frederick. W. French – Vienna – Ontario
MOTHER:                          Mrs. Frederick French – Wingham – Ontario.
Occupation:                        Medical Student –                Religion:     Presbyterian
                                             University of Chicago
Enlistment:                         Minnendosa – Manitoba – October 6, 1916
Enlistment Age:                 23 years

Private French sailed from Canada on October 23, 1915 and arrived in England on November 2nd.  On March 1, 1916 he was confirmed at the rank of Sergeant. Just over a year later in March 1917 it was confirmed he was promoted to rank of Lieutenant.
Sergeant French was awarded the Military Cross on February 4, 1918 following military operations on February 1st. Sergeant French’s citation for his Military Cross read: “for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. When one of his machine-gun batterys was shelled from its position and the battery commander had been killed, he rallied the crews, saved six of the guns under heavy enemy fire and got them into action again. His splendid example of courage was an inspiration to his men”.
The fight was on for the Canal du Nord and Cambrai and on September 28th the 10th Infantry Brigade advanced on the 4th Division front and originally there was little opposition up to the Marcoing Line. As they advanced from this point the enemy machine gunners threw intense fire over the open and level plain which they finally emerged from and in front of them stretched the outskirts of Cambrai. 
Lieutenant French was killed in action near Tilloy while commanding both his machine-gun batteries and the infantry. He was struck by the fire of enemy machine guns.
No. 1 Company went with the 10th Brigade as they advanced, and they were to engage targets of opportunity and then consolidate the ground just won. “H & L” batteries also joined No. 1 Company. The advance was held up in the area of the Douai-Cambrai Road from the fire coming from enemy machine-gun nests. Heavy casualties were suffered. All batteries engaged these enemy strong points with one battery breaking up an attempted enemy counter-attack.
The infantry was not able to advance, and all machine-gun batteries were occupied and they dug in defensive positions.