Cecil Robert Newman was born in Twickenham on 24 June 1888. He was the son of Kathleen and Ernest Newman.
Cecil did not follow his father into the banking industry and instead enlisted in the Army aged 18 in 1906. He joined The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment and was posted to its 2nd Battalion.
In 1908 Cecil married Alice Norman, by which time he was a Lance-Corporal. He became a father to twin girls.
Cecil’s Battalion was posted to Pretoria in South Africa and records at Surrey History Centre relating to him (QRWS/30/NEW) describe his visits to the 2nd South African War battlefield at Willow Grange. By this time, Cecil was a Lance-Corporal.
With the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914, the 2nd Battalion, Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment was posted back to Great Britain in preparation for service with the BEF. The Battalion formed part of 22nd Brigade, 7th Division, which landed at Zeebrugge on 6 October 1914. The Division was soon involved in the 1st Battle of Ypres during which heavy casualties were sustained, including Cecil Newman, who was killed on 21 October 1914.
The records at Surrey History Centre include a photocopy of a postcard sent by a resident of Ypres visiting London to Alice Newman (of 2 Park Cottages, Morden) explaining that Cecil Newman had been staying with him in Belgium – ‘he is on the front and full of energy as well as his men and all those of The Queen’s’.
The Surrey History Centre papers also include a photocopy of a letter from Cecil’s wife dated 9 November 1914 describing her sea journey back from South Africa (the Battalion had returned earlier) with their children. During the voyage, there was a measles outbreak on board which affected 380 people. Eleven children died. Sadly one of Alice and Cecil’s daughters died after arriving at Southampton on 1 November 1914. By this time, Cecil had been killed in action.