Cyril Antliff Humphries (1896-1924)
The 'terrible fruit' of the trenches
In 1916 Cyril Humphries was a student at Manchester University when he was called up to serve in the armed forces. His story is one of the often forgotten tragedies of the war. He enlisted as a private, quickly becoming a non-commissioned officer and lieutenant, and crossed to France in 1917. Within a few months he suffered a severe attack of trench fever, which left him fatally ill, and caused him to be invalided home in 1918. After the war he became a Primitive Methodist minister, but his health never recovered. ‘The terrible fruit’ of life in the trenches meant a return to hospital, and weary months of examination and treatment. ‘He faced it without whining and without resentment. His brave spirit never gave way. His courage was infectious. His will undaunted.’ He longed to get better, but after a critical operation he died in hospital on Christmas morning. He was only 28 years old.
Methodist Minutes of Conference, 1925