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  • Christina Drummond

Private William Cecil Tickle, 9th Battalion, Essex Regiment

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1916, Private William Cecil Tickle, 9th Battalion, Essex Regiment, was killed in action on the Somme. He joined the Essex Regiment in September of 1914, convincing the recruitment officer that he was 18 when he was in fact only 15. The following year the battalion mobilized to France, landing in Boulogne on the 31st of May, and were immediately involved in the fighting. Three months later Private Tickle survived the Battle of Loos, one of the biggest confrontations of the campaign – 16,000 British were killed, and 25,000 wounded. He also survived the first two days on the Somme, but on the third day he was killed in action – sadly his body was never recovered from the mud. He had sent the accompanying photograph to his mother, it was taken just a few days before his death. In 1920 she answered an appeal for photographs of the fallen, so his became part of an Imperial War Museum exhibition, and has also been included in a set of stamps to commemorate the centenary of the Great War. His mother wrote: “I should like to feel I can tell my friends that he is there with all his comrades, he was only a boy but, God love him, he well did his duty.” William, from Hornsey in Middlesex, was 17 years old.

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