681442 GNR. R. J. CUFF.  R.F.A.

 

Reginald John Perry Cuff was born in the first quarter of 1894 in Hornsey, Middlesex, and baptised at Barkway, Hertfordshire, on 1 July 1894.  His father was John Pitman Cuff (b. 1868 in Shapwick, near Blandford Forum in Dorset), a cabinet maker.  His mother was Rose Perry (b. 1866 in Nuthamstead, Hertfordshire), a dressmaker.  It’s difficult from the Censuses to see how John and Rose met; in 1891, Rose was a boarder working for a draper’s in Cranbrook, Kent, whereas that year John was working as a cabinet maker in Litchurch, Derbyshire.  Nevertheless, the couple met and were married the following year in Warwick.  Reginald was born in Hornsey, and then the couple had a daughter, Cicely Constance (b. 1895) in Stone, Staffordshire.  By 1901, the family had settled in Liverpool and in 1911 they were living at 15 Moss Grove, Lodge Lane, Toxteth, Liverpool.

 

Reginald was among the large number of men who were recruited in 1915 to join the West Lancashire Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery to form “D” Battery of 286 Brigade.  He was assigned service number 681442.

 

After training, the Brigades left for France in early 1917 and were involved in the heavy fighting to defend the town of Armentières, on the French-Belgian border.  In July 1917 they suffered their first attack by the new mustard gas.  In late September the Brigade was relieved from the front line and withdrew for a period of training, and returned to the line at Langemark about 35km north of Armentières, not far from the small village of Passchendaele, which would be the scene of some of the bloodiest battles of the War.  On 9 October 286 Brigade returned to action engaging in harassing and destructive fire on enemy strongpoints, but also suffering their heaviest losses of the war so far, with many soldiers being gassed.  Reginald was wounded in action towards the end of the month and died of his wounds at 46th Casualty Clearing Station (Mendinghem) on 26 October 1917.  He was 23 years old.

 

286 Brigade was to lose over 300 men before the end of the month, killed and wounded – almost half their full complement. 

 

Rank:  Gunner

Service No:  681442

Date of Death:  26/10/1917

Age:  23

Regiment/Service:  Royal Field Artillery, "D" Bty. 286th Bde.

Grave Reference:  VII. A. 41.

Cemetery:  MENDINGHEM MILITARY CEMETERY

Additional Information:  Son of John Pitman Cuff and Rose Cuff, of 15 Moss Grove, Lodge Lane, Liverpool.

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