Cecil Cliffe was born in 1919 at Croft, the third son and sixth child of William Henry and Georgina Cliffe (nee White). The Cliffes would eventually have eight children, four boys and four girls: Alexander James, Lewis, Esme, Doris, Freda, Cecil, Iris and William Ivor. Cecil’s father had been born in Hatton but had moved to live at Golborne by 1911. His mother was from Pendleton, part of Salford.
Sadly, Cecil’s father died in 1923, when Cecil was nearly four years old, leaving the mother with seven children to care for, Lewis having died as an infant. Georgina moved to Hatton so that she could have family support. She sadly died in 1943 when Cecil was fourteen years of age and he and his younger brother William Ivor were cared for by one of their older married sisters, Esme Savage, and her husband Frank.
Cecil worked as a painter and decorator. At the start of World War Two he was living in Appleton with Esme, Frank and William Ivor. It is not known when he enlisted, but he joined the Royal Navy and given the service number C/JX 191767.
On 8th February 1943, the ship on which he was a telegraphist was sailing near the Canary Islands. Her Majesty’s Trawler Bredon was operating as an anti- submarine escort trawler. It was hit by U-boat U-521 and sank immediately. Forty-three died including Cecil. There were very few survivors.
Cecil Cliffe is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial in Kent and on the war memorial at St Matthew’s Church in Stretton. He was twenty- three years old.