Lance Corporal Cecil Armytage Tilson


Cecil Armytage Tilson was born on 6 April 1893 at Kilnavara, Cavan, the third of six children of rural postman William Tilson and his wife Elizabeth (nee Owens). By 1911 he was living at Kilnavara with his parents and two surviving siblings and working as a clerk.

Tilson enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 10 October 1914 (No.1301). He embarked for France with F Squadron on 17 November 1915.

In June 1916 F Squadron joined with C Squadron and the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to X Corps until September 1917, when the regiment was disbanded and most of its men were transferred to the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion. Like most of the men, Tilson was transferred on 20 September. He was issued a new regimental number – 41224.

In November and December 1917 the 9th Battalion played a role in the Battle of Cambrai. After seeing action in the attempt to capture the village of Moeuvres, on 4 December they were rushed back into the line south of Marcoing to help repel the German counter-attack. The battalion war diary reads as follows:

Arrived in support trenches at 5.30 am the 4th [December].

[4 December] Battn in the trenches south of Marcoing in support of 88th Brigade. Relieved Essex & Hants Batts in front line at 4.30 am.

[5 December] Battn in the line. Capt Flood killed at 9 am by shrapnel.

[6 December] Battn in the line. Two companies in front line one in Support and one in Reserve for use as Battalion counter attack company. Enemy shelling position very heavily. 5 casualties – 4 O.R's

Tilson was one of the men wounded at this time.

Whether he saw any further service in France is not known at present. One document shows that he was still serving in August 1919, which suggests he may have re-enlisted following demobilisation earlier that year.

After the war Tilson returned to Cavan, where he worked as a solicitor's clerk. On 29 June 1932 he married Edith Florence Quinlan at the Church of Ireland Parish Church, Cavan.