Frederick ‘Cecil’ Franklin, born on 8th December 1897, was admitted to King Edward’s School in September 1911 on a full scholarship, having transferred from King Edward’s Camp Hill Grammar School. His father, Solomon, was a fine art proprietor, and the family lived at 174, Golden Hillock Road, Small Heath. At the time of the 1911 Census, Cecil was living with his father and mother, Clara, and his two sisters, at 738, Coventry Road, Birmingham.
Cecil excelled at school. He was a librarian, controller of the Cot Fund and a “strong debater” in the school debating society, once preaching “a sermon on joining that noble army, the School Officer Training Corps”, in which he was a Lance Corporal. In 1914 he became a Prefect, also winning a life-saving competition in the same year. Cecil must have been exceptionally academic as he was in the First Class (meaning that he was taught by the Chief Master). In 1915, he was awarded prizes for both French and English recitation in addition to the ordinary class prize for outstanding achievement. Perhaps not surprisingly, Cecil was recommended by the Chief Master for ‘election to exhibition [to Cambridge University] for marked proficiency in Classics and Modern Languages.’ On leaving school, in December 1915, Cecil presented a book to the library - ‘Arcadians’ Adventures with the Idle Rich’ by Stephen Leacock.
Cecil enlisted in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment as a Non-Commissioned Officer in January 1916. He was killed in a raid for which he had volunteered on the Somme on 10th July 1916, aged eighteen. He reached the rank of Lance Corporal, and is buried in Rue-de-Bacquerot Cemetery, France, where his headstone is inscribed, at his mother’s request, “For Honour, For Country.”
Note: Mary Crabb, granddaughter of Cecil’s girlfriend at the time of his death, remembers clearly that her grandmother (Elsie Carter, nee Harrison) never referred to him as Frederick, always Cecil.