Reginald Secker

Reginald Secker
Born at Littleport in 1883, Reginald was one of ten children born to James, a self-employed grocer, and Susanna (née Payne). The family home was over the shop in Main Street, Littleport. They employed a domestic servant. In 1901 Reginald worked for his father as a grocer's assistant.

In 1907 Reginald married Gertrude Anderson at St Paul's Church, St Pancras, London. Soon after the marriage they moved to St Ives, Gertrude's place of birth. Reginald worked as a grocer's assistant. By 1911 they were living in West Street, St Ives, with their two year old son Reginald and newly-born Raymond. Reginald had progressed to owning his own grocer's shop operating from their home.

Volunteering in 1915 at Huntingdon, Reginald joined the 4th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment. He saw some of the fiercest trench warfare in France. At 4.25am on 28 April 1917 British and Canadian troops rose up out of their trenches to attack German defences around the village of Arleux. The Battle of Arleux raged on throughout that day.

Fighting continued the following day. Reginald's Battalion attacked at dawn and captured its objective. The Germans counter-attacked and drove the British forces out, but the German trenches were recaptured. Throughout the day Reginald and his colleagues were shelled heavily by German artillery. The war diary mentions that two officers were wounded. Not untypically, there is no mention of casualties to other ranks.

Reginald was killed in action during the battle on Sunday 29 April 1917, aged 33yrs. The Hunts Post reported his death on 11 May 1917. Reginald has no known grave and is commemorated at the Arras Memorial, France. His name also appears on the Littleport War Memorial.

His wife and two young children mourned his loss. Gertrude earned income by playing piano at the talkies in the local cinema and selling lollies from the front of her house. In 1920 she emigrated to New Zealand.

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Source materials
Click any of the links below to view original source materials.
1891 Census
1901 Census
1907 Marriage Banns
1907 Marriage Bond
1911 Census
War diary, 4th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment
Medal Rolls Index Card
Register of Soldier's Effects
Commonwealth War Graves Register
Commemorative Certificate

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