by Megan Cable
Cecil Sewell was born in Greenwich in January 1895. One of nine children, and the youngest son, the family lived at 26 Crooms Hill, Greenwich. His father, Harry, was a notable Solicitor and Coroner and his elder brother Harry Kemp was a borough Councilor.
In 1914, at the age of 19, Cecil joined up. Following service at the front, he was sent back to England and trained as an army officer. Later he joined the Queen’s Own, Royal West Kent Regiment, and was later transferred to the Tank Corps.
On the 29th August 1918, during heavy fighting, Cecil went to the rescue of his men when one of the tanks of which he was commanding, slipped, and became stuck in a shell-hole. The tank had overturned and caught fire, but despite this and the heavy machine gun fire, Cecil left the relative safety of his own tank and went to the aid of his men. Digging the earth away from the jammed door, Cecil managed to free the crew. As he saw to his wounded men he was hit, however he continued to dress the wounds of his wounded driver when he was hit for a second time and sadly died. For his actions he was awarded the Victoria Cross. He was 23 years old.
Cecil Sewell was the third son, Harry and Ann Sewell lost during the first world war. All of their sons joined up and went to war, each serving at the front. As well as Cecil, the family lost Herbert Victor in 1916 and Harry Kemp in 1917.
Lieutenant Cecil Harold Sewell
Image Courtesy of Wendy Shaw, Sewell Family.
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