C W C Shelley

Lieutenant Cecil William Charles Shelley 2nd Life Guards was killed in action in France on 17th October 1915 at the Battle of Loos near the Hohenzollern Redoubt during a bomb attack. He was 42.

He was the youngest of three sons of Lt Col Sir Charles Shelley Bt and Lady Mary Shelley. All the brothers were in the Beresford in Cecil’s case between 1885 and 1888. He married Sybil Peel on 1903.

He went to Ceylon as a tea planter in 1892 at East Holyrood, Talakawelle.
He volunteered as a Trooper in the Ceylon Contingent when the Boer War broke out.

Commissioned into 7th Bttn KRRC he transferred to the Life Guards in 1914 and was attached as a newly promoted Lieutenant to 2nd Bttn Scots Guards, his father’s and elder brother’s regiment, with which regiment he was serving at the time of his death.

The Unit War diary reads:

“17.10.15/4am The Bn stood to arms and moved into position ready for the attack. G Coy moved up the communication trench ready to move into the front line as the attack progressed. The 4th Bn Grenadier Guards also formed a chain down the communication trench to pass up supplies of bombs and sandbags.

5am The attack commenced. F Coy attacked down BIG WILLIE; LF Coy attacked from BIG WILLIE down towards point 42. RF Coy attacked from just SOUTH of point 60 EAST towards point 42 to meet LF Coy. From the time the attack commenced there was a steady stream of bombs and stores of all kings being passed down the communication trench. Lieut WARDE was wounded in the leg early in the attack but got his wound dressed and returned and continued directing the attack of the bombers.

8am Orders were received from the Division to consolidate the ground gained. There was a noticeable lack of artillery fire on the part of the enemy throughout the operation. F Coy had gained about 150 yards of BIG WILLIE; LF gained about 100 yards; RF gained about 50 yards but were forced to fall back again on the original position. By 10am we had consolidated the ground gained. During the afternoon we improved the gained portions of trench and prepared for a counter attack that evening but it did not come off.

Our casualties were: 3 officers killed: Captain A ORR, Lieut N LECHMERE and Lieut SHELLEY; 2 wounded: Lieut WARDE and Lieut E CLARKE. Other ranks 20 killed, 66 wounded and 16 missing.”

He was initiated into Nuwara Eliya Lodge No 2991 in Ceylon, now Sri Lanka. In the upland hill country is is the same lodge as fellow planter and OW Lodge member Richard Frederick Ince Currie, who would be killed less than 9 months later.  Shelley was also a relative of another Old Wellingtonian Lodge member and war casualty Lord Abinger.