Cecil de Burgh Persse
|PERSSE, CECIL De BURGH GORDON||Lieutenant||19/07/1915||7th Dragoon Guards (Princess Royal’s)||United Kingdom||Officers’. 1710.||NETLEY MILITARY CEMETERY|
No parents named
With this curious name it must be the right man.
There are several family trees on the ‘ancestry’ website which include his name. These indicate that he was born 17.7.1875 in Galway, Ireland, the son of Henry S Persse. He entered Trinity College Cambridge in 1895 and died 19.7.1915 at Royal Victoria Military Hospital, Netley ‘following injuries in Flanders’
His medal card describes him as Lieutenant in the Dragoon Guards and that he was awarded the Victory Medal, the British War medal, and 1914-15 Star; I can find no other Military records for him.
In the 1891 census he is a scholar aged 15, born Ireland, at Cheltenham College.
He does not appear in any other census record; no ’Persse’ is to be found in Cheshire census records.
His name appears on a three-metre high cross which stands in St Nicholas Collegiate Church in Galway, together with the names of fourteen other parishioners who died in the Great War1
Extract from an article written in 19202:
‘ …. he received his fatal wound at Festubert on May 18 1915. On the day before I received one of his delightfully-written letters, so full of hope and courage. I laid him to rest the following July in that picturesquely-situated burying ground, beside Netley Hospital’
He has a very fine memorial headstone at Netley which has the following inscription:
IN LOVING MEMORY OF CECIL DE BURGH PERSSE 2ND LIEUT 7th DRAGOON GUARDS ATTACHED TO THE IRISH GUARDS BORN JULY 17, 1875, DIED JULY 19, 1915 AT ?, FROM WOUNDS RECEIVED ?? AT FESTUBERT, MAY 18 1915 GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN THAN THIS, THAT A MAN LAY DOWN HIS LIFE FOR FRIENDS. – JOHN 15:13 ERECTED BY HIS BROTHERS AND SISTERS
With one of the family trees on the ancestry website is a photograph of this man and also of his handsome memorial headstone. He has an entry in De Ruvigney’s Roll of Honour 1914-1919.
For some time his connection with the Parish remained a mystery. I have corresponded with an Irish journalist who has ‘done a lot of research on him’ and two members of his family – none of them knew of a connection with Ashton Hayes. However, I later learnt from Alan Dowen that Cecil was the brother of Mrs Violet Johnson (née Persse); she lived at ‘Ashton Hayes house’ and was the lady who made a donation to the WI in 1924 of the land and hall adjacent to the church.
- Article in Connacht Tribune11.2015
- Connacht Tribune2.1920