CECIL WILLIAM SEDGEWICK (1897-1917)
250422 Private C.W. Sedgewick, 15th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry was killed in action 4 October 1917 and is buried at New Irish Farm Cemetery, near Ypres, Belgium. He was 20 years old and is commemorated on Cockfield War Memorial.
Cecil William was born 1897 at Lands Bank, near Cockfield the son of John and Mary Jane Sedgewick. There were at least 5 children:
- Charles bc.1884 at Middleton-in-Teesdale
- John Thomas bc.1886 at Middleton-in-Teesdale
- Mary Ethel bc.1891 at Witton Park
- Elizabeth Anne bc.1893 at Lands Bank
- Cecil William born 1897 at Lands Bank
In 1901, the family lived at Fell Houses, Cockfield where father, John and sons Charles and John worked as coal miners, hewer, putter and on the screens, respectively. By 1911, 13 year old Cecil lived with his brother Charles and his wife Mary at Front Street, Cockfield. Charles worked as a coal miner (hewer).
Cecil Sedgewick enlisted at Bishop Auckland into the Durham Light Infantry  being given the regimental number 3660. He was later given the number 250422 and served with the 15th (Service) Battalion. The battalion was formed at Newcastle in September 1914 as part of K3, Kitchener’s New Army. It came under the orders of the 64 Brigade, 21st Division together with:
- 9th, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (KOYLI)
- 10th, KOYLI
- 14th, Durham Light Infantry (DLI)
- 1st, East Yorkshire Regiment (EYR)
- 64th Machine Gun Company (MGC) joined 4 March 1916
- 64th Trench Mortar Battery (TMB) joined 16 June 1916
The Division landed in France at Boulogne 11 September 1915 and served with distinction on the Western Front seeing action at the Battle of Loos, 25 September 1915.  Private C.W. Sedgewick did not enter France until after 31 December 1915 therefore did not see action here. His service record and the war diary of the 15/DLI has not been researched but it is likely that he joined the battalion as the Battle of the Somme commenced or perhaps in a replacement draft following the high casualties which the battalion suffered during July 1916. Up until his death the Division was involved in the following actions. 
1916: The Battle of the Somme, the following phases: 
- Albert: 1-13 July
- Bazentin Ridge: 14-17 July
- Flers-Courcelette: 15-22 September
- Morval: 25-28 September
- Le Transloy: 1-18 October
The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line: 14 March-5 April
The Arras Offensive:
- 1st Battle of the Scarpe: 9-14 April
- 2nd Battle of the Scarpe: 23-24 April
- Bullecourt: 3-17 May
3rd Battle of Ypres:
- Polygon Wood: 26 September – 3 October
- Broodseinde: 4 October
On this date, the 21st Division was in the line east of Polygon Wood and 15/DLI was selected for the part of the assault.
2 October: battle stores taken at Ridge Wood. The Brigade took over the line that night. 15/DLI led astray by guides but
3 October: dug in by 1.30am southeast of Glencourse Wood. German artillery hit the area from the front line back to Hooge and 15/DLI suffered severe casualties that day so they were replaced by a KOYLI battalion. 15/DLI survivors were reorganised into 2 companies.
4 October: 6.00am wind and rain: to the right was the Hooge-Reutel road; 300 yards ahead was Joist Farm; Polygonbeke stream then Reutal. Joist Farm was taken after fierce fighting and the stream was crossed with the brigade suffering from enfilade fire from the right. The 3 Yorkshire battalions tackled the German pill-boxes on the higher ground. Second Lieutenant J. Sedgwick, 15/DLI leading A/B Company was sent up to Joist Farm and the company established themselves to the south of the farm along the north edge of Cameron Covert. The East Yorkshires prolonged the line. British guns broke up a counter-attack from the south east. The Germans threw in another attack with great determination entering Cameron Covert in large numbers. Second Lieutenant J. Sedgwick’s company held the enemy at bay. By 9.00pm contact was made with the 5th Division on the right. Colonel Falvey-Beyts came forward with the rest of 15/DLI and joined A/B Company. Private C.W. Sedgewick was killed in action 4 October 1917.
5 October: an attack on the pill-boxes containing 3 German machine-guns was organised to take place but the Germans surrendered to Lieut. C.S. Herbert. Hostile shelling continued all day and the Germans counter attacked again in the evening. Colonel Falvey-Beyts was killed. 15/DLI was relieved during the night and reached dug-outs at Zillebeke on the morning of the 6 October.
The total losses to the battalion amounted to 20 officers and 410 men, including the third commanding officer of the 15/DLI to be killed or mortally wounded in action. 
Later research provides details that the following officer and other ranks serving with 15/DLI were killed in action or died of wounds:
- 3 October: 7 other ranks
- 4 October: 38 other ranks including Private C.W. Sedgewick
- 5 October Colonel J. Falvey-Beyts and 13 other ranks
- 6-10 October: 7 other ranks
In total, between 3 and 10 October, 1 officer and 65 other ranks died.
250422 Private C.W. Sedgewick was awarded the British War and Victory medals.
Private C.W. Sedgewick was buried at grave reference XXXIII.F.13 New Irish Farm Cemetery, near Ypres, Belgium. The cemetery was enlarged to accommodate graves brought in from the battlefields and from smaller cemeteries. There are 4,715 commonwealth burials, 3,267 are unidentified. 
 Commonwealth War Graves Commission
 England & Wales Birth Index Vol.10a p.255 Auckland 1897 Q2
 1901 census
 1911 census
 Soldiers Died in the Great War
 Medal Roll card index
 Medal Roll card index
 “The Durham Forces in the Field 1914-1918: The Service Battalions of the Durham Light Infantry” Captain Wilfrid Miles 1920 p.190-192
 Officers and Soldiers Died in the Great War
Thanks to Hazel Bowman and Colin Walton
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