Cecil Herbert Sargent was born and raised in Halstead where he worked as a compositor and printer. He married in the town a month after the outbreak of the war and came to Chelmsford to work for the Chelmsford printers Messrs. A. Driver & Sons. Cecil joined the army and was killed in action near Ypres in March 1917. His home was in Broomfield Road. His brother was also killed during the war.
Cecil was born in Halstead in 1890, the son of Herbert William (sometimes ‘William Herbert”) Sargent and Clara Sargent (nee Pudney). His father had been born in 1865 in Halstead; his mother in 1863 also in Halstead. The couple had married on 23rd August 1888 at Holy Trinity Church in Halstead.
Cecil had a younger brother, Morton Horace Sargent, born in 1894 in Halstead and another sibling who died in infancy.
The 1891 census recorded 11 month-old Cecil living with his parents at 2 Tortoise Terrace, New Street in Halstead. Cecil’s father was a carpenter and his mother a dressmaker. A decade later the 1901 census listed ten year-old Cecil at 55 New Street in Halstead. His father was still employed as a carpenter.
In 1911 the census found 20 year-old Cecil staying with his Halstead-born aunts Alice and Mary Ann Pudney at 9 Neale Road in Halstead. Cecil was employed as a compositor. Cecil’s parents and brother were still living at 55 New Street at the time.
SARGENT, CECIL HERBERT,
Sergeant, 23rd (Service) Battalion (2nd Football), Duke of Cambridge’s Own (Middlesex Regiment)
He enlisted at Chelmsford and served as Private 50993 in the 23rd (Service) Battalion (2nd Football) Duke of Cambridge’s Own (Middlesex Regiment). The battalion had been formed in London at the end of June 1915. At the start of 1917 his battalion had been in the front line in the Kemmel sector, as part of the 123rd Brigade in the 41st Division.
Cecil was killed in action on 31st March 1917. He was aged 26. He is buried at Dickebusch New Military Cemetery, south-west of Ypres in Belgium (grave: AA. 27).).
The Essex County Chronicle of 13th April 1917 included the following entry in its Roll of Honour:
“Sargent – On March 31st, in France, Cecil Herbert Sargent, late of 66 Broomfield Road, Chelmsford, who fell in action aged 26 years.”
The paper also included a short report on his death:
“Pt. Cecil Herbert Sargent, Middlesex R. of 66 Broomfield Road, Chelmsford, killed in action on March 31, was employed at Messrs. A. Driver and Sons printing establishment before the war. His father, Mr H. W. Sargent, lives at 129 King’s Road. Halstead. Deceased leaves a widow, but no children.”
He is commemorated on the Civic Centre Memorial, Chelmsford. Cecil’s widow later lived at White Ash Green, Halstead, Essex.
Cecil married Rose Alice Wakeling on 8th September 1914 at Holy Trinity Church in Halstead. At the time Ceil was aged 24, a printer and lived at 24 New Street in Halstead. His bride was the 20 year-old daughter of John Wakeling (deceased) of White Ash Green, Halstead. By the end of the year Cecil’s mother died.
Cecil came to Chelmsford to work for the printers Messrs. A. Driver & Sons and made his home at 66 Broomfield Road - the property, now demolished, stood on the eastern side of Broomfield Road almost opposite Cedar Avenue.
Cecil’s brother, Morton Horace Sargent died on 28th May 1918 while serving as Private 228089 in A Company of the 1/1st Battalion of the London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers). He is not commemorated at Chelmsford.