Cecil Corson - Lest We Forget

Cecil Corson was born May 6, 1897 at Donald, B.C.  He was the son of Francis Henry Corson, born June 1860 in Ontario and Annie Charlotte Corson, born August 1860 in Ontario. Cecil had eight siblings, five of whom were born in Ontario:  Francis Herbert in 1880, Ernest in 1882, Clifford in 1885, Arnold in 1889 (died 1892) and Annie in 1891. Edna was born in Donald in 1895, and Alma was born in 1901 and Eldon in 1904, both in Revelstoke. The family lived at 411 Second Street East.  Mr. Frank Corson worked as an Engineer with the Canadian Pacific Railroad out of the Revelstoke Division. Cecil’s oldest brother Francis Herbert died in a snow slide that demolished the Rogers Pass CPR station in January of 1899. Local school records show that Cecil Corson attended the Revelstoke High School in 1911.

It was noted in the local paper that Cecil Corson broke his collar bone in July of 1914 playing baseball. A base runner collided with him at third base. He would have been 17 years old at the time. Shortly after his 18th birthday, on May 29, 1915, Cecil Corson enlisted with the 54th Battalion at Vernon. He was 5’ 5 ½” tall with brown hair and blue eyes. He gave his occupation as clerk at the CPR Hotel. His religious affiliation was Anglican. He was also a member of the YMCA. His name appears on both Honor Rolls.

While training in Vernon he is mentioned in a letter sent from there and printed in the local newspaper, as being a member of a Revelstoke lacrosse team which defeated the Vernon team. He is noted as having played “cleverly.”

Cecil Corson died August 17, 1917 of wounds suffered in battle, probably in the battle for Hill 70. He was 20 years old. At the time of his death he was a Private in the 7th battalion, Canadian Infantry (British Columbia) Regiment. He is buried at the Lapugnoy Military Cemetery in France.

The Revelstoke Review in its August 30, 1917 edition gives this news of Cecil Corson’s death: “The sad news reached the city on Sunday evening of the death in action of Cecil Corson. The deepest sympathy is expressed for the family and heart-felt regret in the loss to them and to his friends of one of the bravest and most high-spirited lads who ever left our town. Cecil was universally popular with all who knew him. One who was with him in the trenches says he was utterly fearless in the face of danger.”

A note from Bryan Corson, a relative of Cecil Corson, said that “Cecil was a runner and sustained fatal back (and head) wounds. On his person was an unmailed, blood-stained letter to his mother which was written in England 8 days before.” 

Cecil Corson’s name appears on both the Courthouse and Cenotaph plaques.

Corson Family at their home on Second Street East, Revelstoke, circa 1905. Cecil Corson is the child seated at the right.


Posted on August 14, 2015 .