Cyril was the son of Arthur Bell’s auntie Gertrude (nee Grindley) and uncle Charles – a Professor of Music. Arthur’s Army Small Book registers his address with Cyril and his family at 6 Warrener Street, Sale.
Cyril was a former Clerk who enlisted as 26296 in the 69th Training Reserve Battalion on 1st May 1917 – a month before his 18th Birthday. This was the successor unit to the 25th Battalion, Manchester Regiment and had the original objective of training men for the City Pals in the 16th, 17th and 18th Battalions. At this stage in hostilities troops had little influence over their posting Cyril found himself in the 1/8th (Cyclist) and 9th Battalion Essex Regiment, to whom is Victory and British War Medals are credited with number 45682 The Medal roll indicates he also served in the 2nd Essex. Cyril served in France and returned to England in February 1919 when he was granted 28 days furlough at home with his parents.
I have vague recollections of an ‘Uncle Cyril’ and his brother Charlie at family parties. Watch this space for records of the Essex Regiment.