2nd Lt
Cecil Hands

Information about birth

Year of birth:
Place of birth:
Sunderland, Durham, England, United Kingdom

General information

Last known residence:
260 Hylton Road, Sunderland, Durham, England, United Kingdom

Army information

England, United Kingdom
British Expeditionary Force
Second Lieutenant
 —  Durham Light Infantry, 13th Bn.  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
Place of death:
Reutel, Beselare, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)


Tyne Cot Memorial
Panel: 128

Distinctions and medals 3

Points of interest 3

#1 Place of birth
#2 Last known residence
#3 Place of death or original burial place

My story

Cecil Hands was born in 1896 in Sunderland, Durham, England. He was the eldest son of Charles William and Elizabeth Ann Prior. He enlisted in 1915 and served as a private in the 18th Battalion Durham Light Infantry. He later rose to the rank of Second Lieutenant attached to the 13th Battalion Durham Light Infantry, part of the 68th Brigade, of the 23rd Division.

On the 10th of October 1917 the 13th Battalion Durham Light Infantry relieved the front line troops at the Reutel Crossroads, facing the village of Beselare. The relief was complete on the morning of the 11th, establishing the headquarters at the Butte in Polygon Wood. During the 11th and the night of the 12th the enemy shelled the front and support lines, prompting the headquarters to move south to the edge of Polygon Wood. The Battalion was relieved on the night between the 12th and 13th of October 1917 and moved to Railway dugouts at Zillebeke.

Cecil Hands, aged 21, was killed in action on October 12, 1917. Between the 11th and the 12th of October forty men were wounded and five men were killed. Second Lieutenant Hands was one of the men killed that day. He has no known grave and is remembered on panel 126 of the Tyne Cot Memorial.

Files 1

Sources 4

13 Battalion Durham Light Infantry (The National Archives, Kew (TNA), WO 95/2182/2).
Sources used
British Army World War I Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920 (The National Archives, Kew (TNA), WO 372).
Sources used
Census Returns of England and Wales, 1911 (The National Archives, Kew (TNA), RG14).
Sources used
Wilfrid Miles, The Durham Forces in the Field, 1914-18 (London, Cassell and Company, 1920), 195.
Sources used

More information 3