Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthMay 29, 1893
Place of BirthToronto, Ontario
CountryCanada
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinRobert Brockhouse Harcourt (father), 49 Rosedale Road, Toronto, Ontario
Trade / CallingDivinity Student
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number104
Service RecordLink to Service Record
Battalion10th Battalion
ForceBritish Army
BranchRoyal Warwickshire Regiment
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentFebruary 19, 1915
Age at Enlistment21
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of Death19670815
Age at Death74
Buried AtBuried in England

Harcourt, Cecil Copp

Lieutenant Cecil Copp Harcourt served with Canadian Corps Cyclists before being given a commission in the British army, with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He was wounded twice, at the Somme and at Ypres, and invalided home to Canada in June 1918.

Cecil was born on 29 May 1893 in Toronto, Ontario, the youngest of three children. He had a brother, George Edwin, and a sister, Gladys Rowena. His parents, Robert Brockhouse Harcourt and Eleanor Copp, were both born in Toronto and they were married there in 1888. Robert was a merchant tailor, like his father. The family lived in the Rosedale neighbourhood in Toronto and Cecil attended Rosedale Public School and Jarvis Street Collegiate. He finished high school in 1911 then earned a degree in Modern History from the University of Toronto. When he enlisted he was a divinity student with plans to enter the Anglican ministry.

Cecil enlisted in Toronto on 19 February 1915, signing up for overseas service with the 2nd Canadian Divisional Cyclists Company. He arrived in the UK with their first draft on 27 May 1915 on the SS Corinthian. The 2nd Divisional Cyclists were sent to France in mid-September and Cecil served with them for the next eight months. In January 1916 he spent a week in a field ambulance recovering from influenza. In May he was attached to a British army unit pending his return to England to attend cadet school. After completing the cadet course he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the 10th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, and discharged from the Canadian Expeditionary Force on 12 August 1916.

Cecil served in France and Belgium for another year. He was wounded at the Somme in November 1916. In the summer of 1917 his unit was in Belgium, preparing for the Third Battle of Ypres. Cecil was wounded near Hollebeke on 26 July 1917, four days before the assault began. He likely spent the next ten months in the UK and in February 1918 he was promoted to Lieutenant. He was invalided back to Canada in June 1918, arriving on the SS Melita via New York, and he was discharged from service a few months later. He was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. His brother George Edwin enlisted with the Universities Overseas Training Company and he was also commissioned into the British army. He returned to Canada in July 1919. In June 1918 their sister Gladys married Captain Frederick Roy Dickinson. Captain Dickinson served for a year in England as Paymaster then for two years in Kingston and Ottawa until his demobilization in July 1920.

After his discharge Cecil attended Wycliffe College and entered the Anglican ministry. His first posting was at St. James Anglican Church in Keewatin, Ontario. His father died in Toronto in 1920 and when the 1921 census was taken Cecil and his mother were both living in Keewatin. Following that he returned to Toronto and took holy orders. He was married in Toronto on 23 February 1923. His wife, Edith Margaret Holmes, was born in Athabasca in what is now northern Alberta. She was the second of six children of Bishop George Holmes and his wife Eliza Perkes. Bishop Holmes was born in England and served with the Anglican Church in North-West Canada from 1885 until his death in 1912. He was highly esteemed for his hard work, talent, devotion and strength of character. His children spoke fluent Cree and attended boarding schools in England and Toronto.

In 1925 Cecil was posted to a church in St. John, New Brunswick but illness forced him to return to Toronto a short time later. In the summer of 1927 he and his wife moved to Aklavik in the Northwest Territories, where his ministry included a hospital and school. By 1930 he was back in Toronto and he served at St. Paul’s Church for four years. From there he and his wife moved to Blackstock, Ontario where he was the rector at St. John’s Church. He was still living there when his mother passed away in Toronto in 1936. His parents are both buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Toronto, along with his sister Gladys Rowena (Mrs. Dickinson) (1889-1974) and his brother George Edwin (1891-1977).

In 1938 Cecil and Edith moved to England, arriving from Montreal on the SS Ascania on 12 June, their intended address listed as London. Cecil passed away in Tunbridge Wells, Kent on 15 August 1967, at age 74. He is commemorated on the WW1 memorial at Rosedale Public School in Toronto and on the University of Toronto Roll of Service 1914-1918.

By Becky Johnson


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