Capt. C.E. Joliffe

Captain Cyril Edward JOLLIFFE M.C. – (2 i/c ‘B’ Company)

Wounded and Captured: 24 August 1914    Repatriated: 13 September 1917

Personal: Cyril was born on 1st May 1883 in Brighton, Sussex. He was the only child of William Davis (Solicitor) and Emily M. Jolliffe. In 1891 (Census RG 12/2832) the family was living at 28 Hough Green, Chester, with Emily’s grandmother, 85 year old Sarah Gossip, her companion and 2 servants.

Ten years later (1901 Census RG 13/3370) they had to 7 Hough Green, Chester. By 1911 (RG 14/21864) Cyril had been serving with the Cheshire Regiment since 1904 and was a “Temporary Captain“, but still living in the parental home at Hough Green.

About January the following year Cyril married Millicent May Kenyon Stow in Steyning, Sussex.

Rather surprisingly, whilst a prisoner of war, Officers were permitted conjugal visits and Cyril was one of the first batch of 32 officers who arrived at Chateau d’Oex. (see below)

During his internment Cyril’s wife arrived to visit, on one of a series of trains specially commissioned to bring prisoners’ wives from England, and she stayed in Chateau d’Oex until the summer of 1917.

Their son, Geoffrey Jolliffe, born on 6 May 1917, was reported to be the first baby born to a British prisoner of war in Switzerland. Cyril was repatriated separately to the UK on 13th September 1917.

A daughter, Irene M., was born on 23rd May 1919, after Cyril returned from his 3 years in captivity as a prisoner-of-war, and another daughter, Hilda M., a year later. For 2 years after his return Cyril worked at the War Office and after leaving the Army he was employed as Welfare Officer in an engineering Company near his home in Shoreham, Sussex. 

Cyril in Civilian Life

Cyril died of septic pneumonia‘ on 23rd October 1931 at the Old Golf House, Shoreham-on-Sea, aged 48, it was reported that he had never fully recovered from his wounds. He was buried at St Julian’s Church, Kingston Buci Cemetery in Shoreham-by-Sea.

Probate Records show his estate was worth £3007 3s 1d (£3007.15 – equivalent to about £260,000 today – 2023). This was divided between his wife, Millicent May, and “Edna Reynolds (wife of Edward Royle Reynolds)“.

[N.B. Edward Reynolds was a Solicitor, working in London. He married Edna Jones at St Matthew’s Church, Bayswater, on 3rd January 1924. Edna’s relationship to Cyril has not been determined. She was not a widow, as Edward lived until 1963.]

The 1939 Register shows Millicent living at Elmside Cottage, Chanctonbury, Sussex, with her daughter, Irene. She died on 15th October 1951 at Eastbourne, Sussex, aged 67.

Military Service: Cyril was commissioned into the 1st Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment, from the Militia, as 2nd Lieutenant, on 3rd December 1904. He was promoted to Lieutenant on 8th January 1906 and Captain on 11th April 1914. For 3 years between 17th January 1911 and 16th January 1914 he had been appointed Adjutant to the Territorial Force.

Mobilisation on 5th August 1914 found the 1st Cheshires in barracks at Londonderry. They marched two days later to Belfast and embarked on the SS Massilia, which docked at Le Havre on 16th August.

In a photo of the Battalion Officers taken about this time Cyril is in the centre of the photo – right. On his right is Capt. E.A. Jackson and Capt. H.I.S. Hartford (k.i.a. 22nd October 1914) on his left. Behind is Lieut. C. A. K. Matterson. Front, left, is Capt. W.L.E.R. Dugmore, next to Col. D.C. Boger.

Captain Lintorn Shore was given command of ‘B’ Company, with Capt. C. E. Joliffe as his 2 i/c. The other Officers of the Company were Lieut. C. A. K. Matterson (Scout Officer), Lieut. A. E. Newson (Special Reserve) and 2/Lieutenant H. N. Atkinson (Special Reserve). (Cyril had been best man to Captain Shore at his wedding.)

Cyril was 2nd i/c to Captain Shore, the C.O. of ‘B’ Company, and was ordered to take up position to the west of the line facing the oncoming German Divisions, covering the Wiheries-Audregnies and Élouges-Audregnies road junction.

Cyril was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry during the stand made at Audregnies in the famous “Dyer charge“. In an account written from his p.o.w. camp at Torgau on 1st September 1914 Lt. C. A. K.Matterson had this to say about Captain Dyer’s action during the Battle of Audregnies:

Source: Crookenden; p. opp.18

2.30 pm Captain Dyer then called out, “Advance and Enfilade the Enemy”. I jumped up and left the road and led the attack. I was alone some 20 yards in front of the gallant little firing line of about 6 men who followed me.

I had drawn my sword with scabbard on, the latter, I remember pulling off, and throwing away. There was a hail of bullets, and how I escaped I don’t know. I made up my mind it was certain death. 

I was soon joined by Dyer and together we headed the little counter attack. We were followed by Jolliffe and Massy, and a few more men. We made two advances, and we raised a cheer when we heard the enemy were retiring, a thing I never saw and do not believe happened.

.…. a .pdf file giving Captain Shore’s full account of the Battle, written after the War. [Source: “Prison in Paradise” unpublished memoir of Major Eric Archer Jackson, 2 i/c ‘C’ Company]

Dangerously wounded, Cyril was found early on 25th August and and taken by the Spencer brothers from the battlefield to the village convent (pictured left).

He was subsequently moved between eight hospitals and operated on more than 12 times before being transferred to Switzerland, in May 1916.

Cyril remained at the Convent in Audregnies until 27th November 1914 when he was moved to Mons Military Hospital. Four months later, on 22nd February 1915, he was transferred to the Mons Civilian Hospital. On 6th August 1915 Cyril was moved again to Brussels Military Hospital and on to Cologne Hospital on the 16th August.

Cyril had another operation in Osnabruck Camp Hospital on 6th September 1915 and moved to Osnabruck Civil Hospital on 15th December. He moved back to Osnabruck Camp on 22nd January 1916.

By 31st May 1916 Cyril was well enough to be interred at Chateau d’Oex, Switzerland, until his repatriation on 13th September 1917. He was one of about 300 officers and other ranks to arrive there on that day, the first internees to reach Switzerland. [Millicent, Cyril’s wife was able to visit and their son was born there on 6th May 1917 (see above).]

Cyril’s detailed Prisoner Debrief document is an impressively professional and objective yet human record of the hospitals, transport, food and accommodation experienced as well as the medical and care staff he and other seriously wounded soldiers encountered during this time.

Cyril died of septic pneumonia‘ on 23rd October 1931 at the Old Golf House, Shoreham-on-Sea, aged 48, it was reported that he had never fully recovered from his wounds. He was buried at St Julian’s Church, Kingston Buci Cemetery in Shoreham-by-Sea.

  • Sources: 
    • In addition to the usual research tools I am grateful to Paddy Jackson for access to the material for his (as yet) unpublished book of his father’s experiences as a p.o.w. in the Great War – “To a Prison in Paradise”.


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