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Charles Cecil Ewart Deeble

(1898-1917) - From cradle to grave

On the 14th May 1898 the Borough of Falmouth presented an elaborate silver cradle to Mrs Charles Deeble, Mayoress of Falmouth, on the occasion of the birth of her thirteenth child, a son, Charles. Nineteen years later, Charles was killed at the battle of Arras and the cradle re-presented to the Town of Falmouth.

Credit: Falmouth Art Gallery and photos by Bernie Pettersen

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On the 14th May 1898 the Borough of Falmouth presented an elaborate silver cradle to Mrs Charles Deeble, Mayoress of Falmouth, on the occasion of the birth of her thirteenth child, a son, Charles Cecil Ewart Deeble. Nineteen years later, young Charles, a gunner in the Royal Field Auxiliary, was killed at the battle of Arras on April 9th 1917. The cradle was re-presented to the Town of Falmouth by Mr and Mrs Charles Deeble in memory of their dear son and sits to this day in the Council Chamber.

Silver cradles were a relatively common civic gift in the late 19th century all over the British Empire as shown by the Penryn example. The one presented by the then Borough of Falmouth is extraordinarily ornate, depicting a castle and various heraldic symbols with applied swags. It originally rocked but has been secured with a bolt. It is in its original glass case which has a mirror lining at the back so all sides of the cradle can be seen. It has its original silver plaque and an additional plaque and photograph of Charles Cecil which recounts his sad story.

An 1892 trade directory for Falmouth lists both J. H. Deeble & Sons, ship chandlers and tug owners at 25 Arwenack Street and Charles H. Deeble, senior, who was the proprietor of a gentleman outfitters shop at 38 Church Street, Falmouth. He was a well-respected business man, Alderman and Mayor from 1896-1898, when in his early 40s. He married Helena Sara, youngest daughter of local engineer and inventor Nicholas Sara who lived at Bar House, Falmouth.  Charles Cecil Ewart was the last of their thirteen children and was born in May 1898. Charles Deeble senior appears to have moved to Antwerp soon after this date where he continued to run a gentleman’s outfitters.

Charles Cecil attended Framlingham College in Woodbridge in Suffolk perhaps boarding to finish his education while his parents were abroad. He is listed on a plaque dedicated to Old Framlinghamians who died in the First World War which is situated on the west wall of the College Chapel.

Key words: casualty, trenches

Credit: Falmouth Art Gallery and photos by Bernie Pettersen