Cyril Vincent DRURY

[Cyril DRURY Arras Memorial Simon Haynes 2015 smaller]

Cyril Drury's name on the Arras Memorial, Pas de Calais, France; image courtesy of Simon Haynes

Cyril Drury was born in the parish of Holy Trinity, just to the north-west of Grandpont, in late 1891. He was the youngest child of George Drury, a tailor (born in 1846/7 in a house on the High Street in Oxford), and his wife Sarah Rebecca (née Fisher, born 1851 in St Ebbe's, a dressmaker). Sarah had been married before, to a man named Joseph Hart, who had died in 1879 aged only 32. She married George Drury in the spring of 1882 and over the next nine years the couple had six children: Hilda (born 1882/83), Horatio (1884/85), Daisy (1886/87), Elsie (1887/88), Lily (spring 1890) and Cyril (late 1891). Shortly before Cyril was born the family was living with Sarah's parents at 26 Speedwell Street, just north of Folly Bridge.

Sarah died in 1895 aged 44, when Cyril was only four, and his sister Elsie died in the same year, when she was seven. Thereafter the family moved to 3 Bridewell Square (off St Aldates). By early 1911 only Cyril (aged 19) and two of his sisters, Lily (aged 20) and Daisy (aged 24) were still living at home with their widowed father, then aged 64. Cyril was working as an assistant grocer and Lily as a domestic servant.

Cyril enlisted with the Oxf & Bucks Light Infantry in Oxford (service no. 27521), but later transferred to be a Private with the 5th Battalion of the Royal Berkshire (Princess Charlotte of Wales’s) Regiment, service no. 37737. In late 1915 or early 1916 his family moved to 266 Marlborough Road in Grandpont.

Cyril was killed in action on 28 April 1917, aged 25, during the Arleux phase of the Battles of Arras. The British were supporting a larger French offensive further south - the battles of the Chemin des Dames and the Champagne Hills. Cyril's body was never recovered, but he is named on the Arras Memorial at Pas de Calais, which commemorates almost 35,000 servicemen from the United Kingdom, South Africa and New Zealand who died in the Arras sector between the spring of 1916 and 7 August 1918 (the eve of the Advance to Victory) and have no known grave. After his death his effects, worth £8 5s 18d, were sent to his father George.

George died the following year, in December 1918, aged 71. Cyril's sister Lily married Fredrick Crook, a pumper on the Great Western Railway, in August the following year at St Matthew's church. His sister Hilda married Thomas Humphries, an upholsterer, in November 1921, again at St Matthew's.

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