Born in 1895, the only son of John and Sarah Riley. Cyril’s father died not long after, and at the time of the 1901 Census he and his mother were living with his maternal grandparents at 31 Francis Street West in Hull.

Working as a Clerk before the war, Cyril enlisted at City Hall in the first week of September 1914 queuing in the long uneven lines of late summer when the war was still a great adventure to young men sat in stuffy offices facing a life where the only peril was not emptying their in-tray by 5pm sharp. He joined the then fledgling 1st Hull Pals Battalion, ‘The Commercials’, 10th East Yorks.

After training at various Yorkshire barracks throughout 1915 the Pals left Devonport for Alexandria, Egypt three weeks before Christmas and served there until the following March when they left Port Said bound for Marseilles and the journey north to the trenches of the Western Front.

Cyril was seriously wounded during the 4th June 1916 bombardment and evacuated to the Base Hospital at Rouen where he died on 15th June. He is buried at St Sever Cemetery; he was 21 years old.

At the time of his death, Sarah Riley was 56 years old and had lost her husband and her only son. She died in March 1945 having lived another 29 years with her loss. Think on that a moment. It is truly heartbreaking.


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