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Born: 1883, Idle
Died: 3 September 1916, Somme
Address: 189 Leeds Road, Idle
Parents: Benjamin & Emma
Siblings: Henry, Bertha, Frank, May, Dora, Marjorie
Occupation: Railway Co clerk
Organisations/clubs: Officer, Idle Parish Church
Rank: L Cpl
Rolls of Honour: Holy Trinity, Idle; Thiepval Memorial
Regiment: 1/6 West Yorkshire Regt
Cyril Pearce
Cyril Pearce was born 1883 in Idle, the second oldest of the seven children of Benjamin and Emma Pearce. Benjamin was a Bradford-born commercial traveller and appears to have met his wife on his travels for she was from Bakewell in Derbyshire and their first son, Henry – three years older than Cyril - was born in Nottinghamshire. On leaving school, Cyril became a railway company clerk. The first we hear of his war experiences are on 10 March 1916 when the Shipley Times & Express reported that he gone to France. On 29 September, the newspaper reported that he was missing in action. His mother, who had become widowed since the 1911 census, received a letter from the vicar of Windhill, Rev Richard Whincup, who was the regimental chaplain, telling her that Cyril had been seen in the German trenches during the
heat of the battle and that the vicar suspected that he had been taken prisoner. Asking her not to be too anxious, Rev Whincup added: “Your son has done his duty splendidly out here, there is no doubt about that, and he is worthy of much praise for his gallant work. “I know L Cpl Pearce quite well. I often talked to him as I went about amongst the men and I liked him very much.” Esteem The newspaper added: “L Cpl Pearce was a well-loved young man and was one who could not fail to win the esteem of all with whom he came in contact. “For many years he was a zealous worker for Idle Parish Church and Sunday School and at the time he
joined the forces was a church official. “News regarding his welfare is eagerly awaited by his numerous friends as well as by his relatives.” In fact no news was received until 3 August 1917 when, unusually, the paper used its editorial comment column to report: “L Cpl Cyril Pearce of Idle, who had been reported missing since September of last year, is now presumed to be dead. “It is said that when last this gallant non-commissioned officer was seen, he was hurrying towards an officer who had been placed hors de combat. Since then nothing has been heard of him. “Cyril was a young man with a
high ideal and he did his best to live up to it. He was a patient plodder and was known to his friends as a youth imbued with the never-say-die spirit. Upright and honest, he would never flinch a hair’s breadth from what he regarded to be the path of duty. “His demise has left a gap locally which will be hard to fill. To the church life of Idle he rendered yeoman service and the church people of that parish will greatly miss him. Modest “One of the most modest of men, he disliked appearing in the limelight and whatever he did for the church he loved so well, he sincerely desired that it should not be noised abroad. “By the death of Cyril Pearce another real English gentleman has given his life for the salvation of the world from Prussian militarism. “Let us hope that his and similar sacrifices will not be made in vain.”
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