Cecil Taylor Martin RN – Silloth

Remembered with a simple brass plaque in Silloth is a young man called Cecil Taylor Martin. He was killed, aged just 17 years old, in the First World War on board HMS Monmouth. The son of a local doctor, he is forever remembered in Christ Church, Silloth. Cecil Taylor Martin held the position of Assistant Clerk when he was killed in action on the 1st November 1914, off the coast of Chilli.

Cecil Taylor Martin - Assistant Clerk HMS Monmouth

Cecil Taylor Martin - Assistant Clerk HMS Monmouth

Cecil Taylor Martin –  remembered

Screwed to the brick wall behind the font in Christ Church, Silloth is the memorial to Cecil Taylor Martin. Measuring around 80cm x 30cm the brass plaque is inscribed;

In loving memory of Cecil Taylor Martin Assistant Clerk HMS Monmouth aged 17 years elder and dearly beloved son of George and Margaret Emily Martin killed in the action off the coast of Chili 1st November 1914 Blessed are the poor in heart for they shall see God

Cecil was the eldest son of Dr George Martin of Silloth.

HMS Monmouth

Cecil Taylor Martin died when HMS Monmouth, an armoured cruiser, was involved in the Battle of Coronel.   This battle claimed over 1600 souls,  of which over 600 are attributed to HMS Monmouth.

The British ships,  Good Hope, Monmouth, Glasgow and the armed merchant cruiser Otranto, were outgunned and lacked battle experience when they came up against the mighty battle group of the German Graf Spee, Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, Leipzig and the Dresden.

The battle commenced around 7pm on the 1st November 1914, with a 8inch German opening salvo from around 12,000yrds.

The British had little or no response from that distance and, to make matters worse, were silhouetted by the setting sun. Making them an easy target for accurate, repeated German gunfire

Commentators have described the battle as the first British defeat for over a century that resulted with the loss of two armoured cruisers and all crew.

The only known memorials to what took place off Coronel, Chile can be found in Stanley Cathedral on the Falkland Islands or in Coronel itself.

An online website is dedicated to the memory of all those involved in the Battle of Coronel.

Further information

Maritime Memorials  – Cecil Taylor Martin

Christopher Long – More information on the battle and the original signals to the Admiralty

Battle of Coronel – Wikipedia

Battle of Coronel  – a Pictorial Look

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