Malvern College First World War Casualty

Captain Cecil Thomas Tuff

Photo of Cecil Thomas Tuff
House and time at Malvern: No 6, 1899 - 1904.

Regiment: West Kent Regt.
Died: 18 April 1915 aged 30 in Belgium. Killed in action at Hill 60.
Cemetery: Oosttaverne Wood Cemetery VI. B. 4

Born 16th August 1885. Son of Charles Tuff, J.P. (formerly MP for Rochester) and Marian Tuff (nee Gill), Westfield, Singlewell, Gravesend.
Army IV—I. School Prefect. XI Football 1902,03; Shooting VIII; Lieutenant in Corps.
Farmer of Coombe Manor near Rochester; Lieutenant 3rd Batt. Royal West Kent Regt. 1914.
Great War, mobilised 1914; Captain. "D" Coy. 3rd Bn. Attd 1st Bn. Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment).

He joined the battalion in the Field on the 2nd December 1914.
He returned from leave on the 1st March 1915, was sick with Dyspepsia on the 14th March, and rejoined the battalion 10 days later on the 24th March and took over command of D Company.
He was shot through the head and killed instantly at about 3am while leading his company in the attack on Hill 60 near Zillebeke on the night of April 18th-19th. His body was seen in the left crater by 2nd Lieut Doe who wrote 'I never saw such a sight as at that left crater. Hardly a portion of ground could be seen for dead and seriously wounded men who could not be removed owing to the communication trench being blocked with wounded.' He was among six officers killed on that night in his battalion.

'He was killed at Hill 60, near Ypres, on April 18th. A boy of strong sturdy character, who was farming in Kent at the outbreak of the war. He received a commission in the East Kents, and after some months of service was killed in action at the head of his company.' (Malvernian, Jun 1915).

He was previously commemorated on the Ypres Menin Gate memorial (P 45/47) but his grave has now been found as per below:
'Captain Tuff is now known to be buried in Oosttaverne Wood Cemetery. His remains were found on Hill 60 after the Great War and moved there. The grave was marked as being that of a Captain of the Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent Regiment). Two researchers noticed this grave and independently submitted enquiries to CWGC hoping to have identified this as being Captain Tuff’s grave. The case then came to JCCC for final adjudication.
A rededication service will be held at the graveside on 14 May 2019.' (Information kindly provided via email in January 2019 by Rosie Barron of the Joint Casualty & Compassionate Centre at the Ministry of Defence.)

Service record:WO 339/28442 War diary extracts
Unit war diary Mar-May 1915:WO 95/1553/3 , Extract
1914 Oct 1 - 1915 Feb 28: WO 95/1553/2
1914 Aug 1 - 1914 Sept 30: WO 95/1553/1