PAYNE, Cecil Brannon

Second Lieutenant, 21st Squadron, Royal Flying Corps


September 1897.
Son of T.W. and Celia Payne of Cordell Cot, Simla, India.


Blundell’s School “North Close” from the age of 12. May 1910 – Easter 1914.
Royal College of Science, London University.


He passed through Woolwich into the RFA and after seven months service in France, latterly as ADC to General Whitby, he transferred to the RFC.

The Offensive

The Salient was formed during the First Battle of Ypres in October and November 1914. The Second Battle of Ypres began in April 1915 when the Germans released poison gas into the Allied lines north of Ypres. This was the first time gas had been used by either side and the violence of the attack forced an Allied withdrawal and a shortening of the line of defence. There was little more significant activity on this front until 1917, when in the Third Battle of Ypres an offensive was mounted by Commonwealth forces to divert German attention from a weakened French front further south. The initial attempt in June to dislodge the Germans from the Messines Ridge was a complete success, but the main assault north-eastward, which began at the end of July, quickly became a dogged struggle against determined opposition and the rapidly deteriorating weather. The campaign finally came to a close in November with the capture of Passchendaele.


20th August 1917, aged 19.
On the day of his death, he volunteered for a reconnaissance and on the return flight was attacked by a squadron of 21 enemy bombers. He was killed in the attack over St. Julien in Belgium.


2/Lt Payne is buried in Gwalia Cemetery, Grave I.H. 7, Ypres, Belgium.



Gwalia cemetery was opened at the beginning of July 1917, during the period between the battle of Messines and the third battle of Ypres.  It lay among the camps in flat wet country and was used by infantry, artillery and field ambulances until September 1918. Designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield, the cemetery is 8km west of Ypres on the N333 to Elverdinge.


Commonwealth War Graves Commission -
Public Records Office, National Archives, Kew: Medal Rolls: WO372/
“The Register of Blundell's School, Part II 1882 – 1932” (1932) MAHOOD, A.S., Ed. Entry No.5393
 “The Blundellian”,
“Cemeteries & Memorials in Belgium & Northern France” (2004) Commonwealth War Graves Commission. 5/45


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