Friends of the Somme - Mid Ulster Branch  
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   2nd Lieutenant Cecil Alexander Crowe
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Dated added: 30/12/2015   Last updated: 21/05/2020
Personal Details
Regiment/Service: 7th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (British Army)
Date Of Birth: 24/03/1890
Died: 09/09/1916 (Killed in Action)
Age: 26
Summary      
Cecil Alexander Crowe was the eldest son of Thomas and Jeannie Crowe. Cecil was born at Drumclay House on 24th March 1890. Thomas Crowe was a grocer who had a shop in High Street, Enniskillen. Cecil was educated at Portora Royal School in Enniskillen. While there he played both rugby and cricket and was reputed to be a fine sportsman. Cecil boarded with the McVeys in Molesworth Street, Cookstown. He worked as a bank clerk for the Ulster Bank. Cecil Crowe successfully enlisted with the 12th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in May 1915, and was quartered with it in Enniskillen. He went to the front on the 3rd June 1916, attached to the 7th Battalion. He was killed in the charge at Ginchy on 9th September 1916, whilst leading his company.
2nd Lieutenant Cecil Alexander Crowe
Further Information
Cecil Alexander Crowe was the eldest son of Thomas and Jeannie Crowe. Thomas Crowe married Anne Laird on 24th November 1887 in Fermanagh.
Cecil was born at Drumclay House, Enniskillen on 24th March 1890.
The 1901 census lists the family as living in Drumclay, near Enniskillen in County Fermanagh. Cecil was 11 years old. Thomas Crowe was a grocer who had a shop in High Street, Enniskillen. He also had a farm.
Family: Thomas Crowe, Anne Jane / Jennie Crowe, Cecil Alexander Crowe (born 24th March 1890), Elsie Mary Crowe (born 8th February 1891), Douglas Laird Crowe (born 5th January 1894), Geoffrey Victor Crowe (born 21st April 1897).
Cecil was educated at Portora Royal School in Enniskillen. While there he played both rugby and cricket and was reputed to be a fine sportsman.
By the time of the 1911 census was boarding with the McVeys in Molesworth Street, Cookstown. The McVeys had a grocer’s shop as well. Cecil worked as a bank clerk for the Ulster Bank. By the time he enlisted, he had worked for the bank in several towns including Belfast, Cookstown and Derry.
In September, 1914, he obtained a commission, but failed to pass the sight test. He had difficulty persuading the Medical Officer to pass him fit for duty.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 5th December 1914:
Mr C A Crowe, who has been in the office of the Ulster Bank, Cookstown, for some years, has been transferred on promotion to the Ballina branch. Mr H S M Archibald of the local branch has been promoted to the position vacated by Mr Crowe, and the junior vacancy is filled by the transfer of Mr J Craig from the head office.
Cecil Crowe successfully enlisted with the 12th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in May 1915, and was quartered with it in Enniskillen. He went to the front on the 3rd June 1916, attached to the 7th Battalion.
Medal card
Second Lieutenant Cecil Alexander Crowe, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, was killed in the charge at Ginchy on 9th September 1916, whilst leading his company. He was 26 years old.
Second Lieutenant Cecil Crowe led his platoon over the parapet was wounded in the hand. In spite of that he continued on, and soon afterwards received an explosive bullet in the stomach, and died within seconds.
Four officers and 184 other ranks from the 7th battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers were killed on 9th September 1916.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 23rd September 1916: Lieutenant C A Crowe
Official news has been received in Enniskillen on Friday of the death in action on 9th September of 2nd Lieutenant Cecil A Crowe, son of Mr Thomas Crowe, Drumclay, Enniskillen. The deceased officer joined the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in May 1915, and was quartered with it in Enniskillen. He went to the front on the 3rd June last. He was educated at Portora Royal School, and while there played for several seasons with the first fifteen. Before enlisting he was with the Ulster Bank, and was stationed, amongst other places, in Belfast, Cookstown and Derry. His brother, 2nd Lieutenant Geoffrey Crowe, has been at the front for some time. Mr Crowe, Enniskillen, has received the following letter from the Acting Commander of the Battalion:-
‘7th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, British Force, France, 13/9/1916. Dear Mr Crowe, You will already have heard the sad news of your son. I cannot let the occasion go by without letting you know how bravely he died, leading on his men in an attack on a village I believe will be famous. Your son made an excellent officer. He was loved by his men and very popular with all his brother officers. His death is a big loss to the battalion. The battalion sympathises with you in your great sorrow. Yours sincerely, R G Kerr, captain, second in command 7th Inniskillings.’
Second Lieutenant Ernest Johnston, in a letter to Mr Crowe, describing how Lieut. Crowe lost his life says:-
‘In leading his platoon over the parapet he was wounded in the hand. In spite of that he continued on, and shortly after wards he received an explosive bullet in the stomach, and expired in about six seconds. I have questioned a corporal who was with him when he fell, and he can only give the above particulars. Before going into action he gave me his pocket wallet and his money, with instructions to forward them to you in case anything happened to him. Cecil was very popular in his company, and indeed in the whole battalion. The men would do almost anything for him, and are greatly cut up at his loss. We cannot realise that he is gone. However, we have the satisfaction of knowing that he died doing his duty. He was the best friend I had since I arrived here, and I am still dazed at his loss. I can hardly write this sad note. All the officers and myself join in expressing their deepest sympathy with you and Mrs Crowe in your sad loss.’
Second Lieutenant Cecil Crowe is buried in Delville Wood Cemetery at the Somme in France.
Second Lieutenant Cecil Crowe is listed on several memorials, including the Portora Royal School Memorial, the Great War Memorial in St Macartin’s Cathedral in Enniskillen and on Enniskillen War Memorial.
Cecil’s brother, 2nd Lieutenant Geoffrey Crowe, also served in the war but survived.
The CWGC record Second Lieutenant Cecil Alexander Crowe as the son of Thomas and Jennie Crowe, of Drumday House, Enniskillen
The family’s grocery shop is now the Crowe’s Nest public house in Enniskillen. McVey’s shop in Cookstown remains open to this day.
More information on Cecil can be found in the book ‘Fermanagh War Memorial – Roll of Honour 1914-1921’, page 223.
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Relevant Cookstown Area Locations
No Location Region Location Notes Longtitude Latitude
1 McVeys Shop Molesworth Street Cookstown Central Census listing in Molesworth Street 54.645997 -6.741946
References and Links
No Link Reference Map Doc
1 1901 Census lists Crowe family Lists Cecil as age 11 living with the family at house 3 in Drumclay, Enniskillen Rural, Fermanagh
2 1911 Census lists Cecil Crowe Lists Cecil as age 21 boarding at house 19 in Molesworth Street, Cookstown, Tyrone
3 1911 Census lists Crowe family Does not Cecil as living with the family at house 16 in Drumclay, Enniskillen Rural, Fermanagh
4 Irish Life - Our Heroes Details and photo of Second Lieutenant Cecil Crowe
5 Irvinestown Tower Graveyard Cecil Crowe commemorated on family headstone in Irvinestown
6 National Archives UK Medal card can be purchased here
7 National Archives UK Details can be purchased here
8 War Graves Photographic Project Gravestone photo of Cecil A Crowe can be purchased here.
Cookstown District's War Dead Acknowledgements 2010-2021