Cyril John Rowsell was born in the spring of 1897, one of four children to John and Edith Rowsell. John had been married previously, to a woman called Martha. She had died in 1893, not long after giving birth to the second of their two children – sadly, the child died when little more than a babe in arms. Cyril, therefore, had a half-sibling in his older brother Albert, as well as two full brothers, Richard and George, and a sister, Irene.
Cyril had been born in the Somerset village of Yeovil Marsh, but his father had moved the family to nearby Haselbury Plucknett, where he was the local miller.
John Rowsell was obviously a man of many talents, because, by the 1911 census, he was listed as a dairy manager. By now Cyril was 14 years old, and the family had moved again, this time to the village of Westbury-sub-Mendip, near Wells.
War was on the horizon, and Cyril seemed keen to play his part as early as he could. Full details of his military service are not readily available, but it is evident that he enlisted soon after the conflict began.
Cyril enlisted in the Somerset Light Infantry in 1914 and was assigned to the 1st Battalion as a Private. The Somerset Light Infantry were involved in a number of the fiercest battles on the Western Front, and he seems to have been lucky enough to escape injury until April 1918.
During the Battle of Bethune, Private Rowsell was shot and injured. Initially treated at the scene, he was evacuated to England and admitted to the General Hospital in Birmingham. Sadly, he did not recover from his wounds, and he passed away on 30th April 1918. He was just 21 years of age.
Cyril John Rowsell lies at peace in the graveyard of St Lawrence’s Church in Westbury-sub-Mendip, Somerset.