Cecil Hoyle Broadbent 1 March 1916

Cecil Hoyle Broadbent came from Rochdale and arrived at School House at the start of Sanderson’s third year as housemaster in 1895.His father, from Stalybridge in Lancashire, managed a branch of the Manchester and Liverpool Bank. Cecil was the fifth of seven children and the third son of his parents’ marriage.

He became a school prefect in his last year and was a member of the rugby XV and the cricket XI. He was elected to a senior scholarship at Oundle in 1898, and confirmed his ability by winning six prizes on Speech Day 1900. Amongst these were a share of the Taylor Exhibition and the Headmaster’s prizes for Greek and Latin prose. He also won a major scholarship in Classics to Trinity College, Cambridge. In his first year there, Oundle’s Cambridge correspondent, writing in the Laxtonian magazine, claimed that Broadbent was “running over inoffensive old ladies and otherwise amusing himself”. Nonetheless, he clearly also applied himself to his studies, winning college prizes and obtaining a first in the classical tripos in 1903.

After Cambridge, he decided to become a schoolmaster. Appointed to Christ’s Brecon in 1903, he moved to Bradford Grammar School three years later. On the outbreak of war, Cecil Broadbent busied himself with the formation of an OTC at Bradford. In November 1914, he obtained a commission in the school’s OTC as Second Lieutenant and nine months later took a commission with the Yorkshire Light Infantry. He was sent to France in September 1915 and served in the trenches near Ypres. By February 1916, he had moved to the Somme area and was in charge of a Brigade Bombing School in Albert, behind the lines. There he was accidentally killed on 1st March 1916 when a mills bomb exploded prematurely while he was acting as instructor.

His Commanding Officer, Major Moorhouse wrote: “He was a most capable officer and had endeared himself to everyone. No loss yet sustained by the battalion – and we have had many – will be as difficult to repair.”

At 34, Cecil Broadbent was one of the older Oundelians to die in the conflict. He left behind a widowed mother.

C Pendrill
Yarrow Fellow