Cecil T. Ralph Swanborough



Village memories: The village centre (picture from SWOP website)

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G/12923 25TH BATTALION ROYAL FUSILIERS
DIED ON 1ST SEPTEMBER 1917 AGED 19YRS
REMEMBERED WITH HONOUR DAR ES SALAAM WAR CEMETERY
TANZANIA.
GRAVE REF 7.A.15

Cecil T. Ralph Swanborough was born in 1897 in Devizes, Wiltshire. He was the son of Ernest & Angelina . The 1901 Census shows the family living at 48, Eversley Road, Arborfield in Berkshire. Ernest is listed as a journeyman baker, bread maker. He married Angelina Bristowe. Cecil is aged 3yrs and his brother Ernest aged 1yr.
In 1911 the family were living at Yattendon near Newbury in Berkshire and the boys are now joined by a sister Josselyn Maud aged 8yrs. Cecil is now 13yrs old. His middle name is given as Iram. He seemed to prefer being called Ralph.
Cecilís father Ernest died in 1925 aged just 49yrs
Cecil enlisted in London and served with the Royal Fusiliers. He embarked at Plymouth in April 1915 for East Africa arriving in Mombasa, Kenya on 4th May 1915. At the outbreak of the First World War the area around what is now Tanzania had been the core of German East Africa and Dar Es Salaam its capital. From the invasion of German East Africa in April 1915 the Commonwealth forces fought a protracted and very difficult campaign against a relatively small but highly skilled German army. They systematically shelled Dar Es Salaam until it surrendered in September 1916. The British gained full control of the German railway from the coast at Dar Es Salaam to Ujiji by September 1916. The German colonial forces finally surrendered on 23rd November 1918 twelve days after the European Armistice.
During this East African campaign disease killed or incapacitated 30 men for every Allied soldier killed in battle. The British forces lost over 10,000 men ,two thirds from disease.
It was during this campaign that Cecil (Ralph) Swanborough died from wounds.

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