Cyril Barrand was born in Bottesford in 1889, the son of William and Betsy Barrand. Betsy and William had seven children. By 1911 Cyril was employed as a butcher’s assistant and was a member of the Bottesford Band. Cyril Barrand served as a Private with the 1st Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment. The 1st Leicestershire Battalion was a Regular Army Unit of the British Expeditionary Force. Cyril would have experienced much front line action. Given the rate of losses from his battalion he must have questioned his chances of survival. He wrote to William Pacey, the Bottesford Band Master, on the 15th September 1915 requesting his assistance in securing posting as a musician in the Brigade Band. ‘Dear Mr Pacey, I received the box safely, thanks very much, I found the contents very useful for we was (sic) going in the trenches the following night and one of the biggest trouble is the rations, we get plenty of bully beef and biscuits but it doesn’t go down grand. The instruction book is what I wanted, the reason I asked for it was they came round and took names of those who would join the Brigade Band that was being formed, I gave my name in and thought if I had this book I could look things up a bit, but when it came to, our Commanding officer said he could not spare any of his men as we have lost so many lately, so our Batt isn’t represented in the Brigade Band. I was rather disappointed for they don’t go in the trenches, they play round the officers quarters when we are in billets and play at the hospitals and do a lot of practising so it would have been alright if I had got in but the book you sent will be alright for we get plenty of time for reading so I can look things up a bit, hoping to join you again if I have the luck to get through alright.’ Cyril then goes on to write about news that his youngest brother Leonard has been injured, that he had learned about the injury of Frank Pacey, Mr Pacey’s son, and about his expectations concerning the next winter and the conditions in their sector of service in northern France. ‘I see you are doing a lot for the Red X [Red Cross] its a very good thing to support to see the hundreds that are fetched from the firing lines at night, they must want a lot of assistance in every way.’ William Pacey, as the Bottesford Band Master, organised many fund raising events in aid of the British Red Cross. ‘I heard several of the Bottesford lads have been wounded, I had letter from Len the other day, he said he had been hit in the back, but not very serious, he was in Hospital but expected going back in a few days.’ Sadly, soon after, in October 1915, Leornard Barrand was severely injured and was invalided home. Cyril letter continues. ‘I was very sorry to hear that Frank had been hit but it was a good thing it was no worse. ’Frank Pacey survived that injury but was fatally wounded in the April of 1916. ‘I’m afraid we are going to have another winter campaign for they are building winter quarters but I don’t think it will be quite as bad as last winter, as we have got trenches in good condition, we are in one of the roughest parts of the line here, this is where they try to break through to Calais, but I think they have found out we are too good for them, if it came to man to man, we should soon have them on the move, we captured about two hundred at Hooge the other week, they looked a rum lot, some quite lads, others looked to be about fifty, its only their guns that hold us back, they are good gunners, but ours are equally good, it was a sight to see them before (as) we bombard their trenches, there was wood, sand bags, men all in the air together a sight nobody would forget that saw it. There was about 200 guns on this one position, so you can guess what a din it was, a right Hell of smoke and fire, there wasn’t many left alive when we went over. We have been promised a rest as we only had two days in billets out of thirty six, so we can do with one. I am posting this with one of our fellows that’s coming on leave, shan’t be sorry when it’s my turn, just to come and have a look round again, hoping it won’t be long. Kind regards, From Cyril Barrand’. We do not know whether Cyril made it back home on leave. William Pacey kept Cyril’s letter along with those from his two lost sons, Frank and Charlie, both of whom were killed. In early August the battalion was transferred to the Ancre Heights to fight in the Battle of the Somme. After a very quiet time with few casualties it was decided to test whether the Germans were listening in to their telephone conversations with two ‘bogus’ raids. The first produced ‘a very feeble’ retaliation at 4.30 pm. The second at 10.30 pm received ‘an enemy retaliation rather heavier especially with Minenwerfers against A Coy’s front.' The feint attacks resulted in two casualties. Cyril was one of those them and was severely injured, losing his left leg. He died two days later on the 20th August.
Created by: David556