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The school officer

The 2nd ADBD, also called "line of communication", is aimed to organize the proper conduct of the war. It has got a target as to secure the resupplying on the front, in equipment, food and weapons but also to centralize information in order to structure and to plan the advance of the troops on the front or even to ensure the soldiers training before dispatching them in the field. During his staying in le Havre, Cecil Healy has primarily administrative functions. However, Cecil Healy has the desire to take responsibility on the battlefield. He fitted himself as a volunteer to have a military background in a school officer. The British army harshly lacks of officers and non-commissioned officers during the first world war and therefore puts into place in the beginning of 1916, a system allowing a soldier to become officer or non-commissioned officer subjected to fulfil certain conditions. Through this way, twenty schools are created across the British territory (Oxford, Bristol, Newmarket...). During these courses, midshipman officer learned the background on military techniques, new technologies used on the front, on the toxic gases, the weapons, the management of men... On December 7th, 1917, Cecil Healy was sent to the n ┬░ 5 Cadet battalion´ school located at Trinity College in Cambridge. He follows the training and became, on June the 1st 1918, the Australian Army NCO by obtaining the rank of second lieutenant. During his training at Trinity College, the sport is still at the heart of his activities, for better or for worse... So, he tells the story of one of the boxing competitions held at the end of April - or early on May 1918 at Cambridge. He reaches the final level of the competition but should meet, as he writes, a "hard, tall, strong, wiry, up-country looking specimen of an Australian. Hardly, he won his semi-final that the crowd complained already about him . In the final, he faces his opponent, trying to deliver him blows, but he will end the match, in losing his balance, his face swollen, without having really understood what happened to him... He ended up at the hospital and checked out, one arm in a sling and two black eyes. He concluded "a pretty picture". He definitely left the "Trinity College" on June 11th, 1918. This is the last time he will see Great Britain. On June 13th, 1918, Cecil Healy returned to France at his appointment of origin, the 2nd ADBD located in le Havre,a trip during which he will pass through Southampton. He was then posted on June the 16th, 1918, within the 5th brigade, 19th infantry battalion. In August 16th, he joined his battalion.

By Bertrand FARENEAU,
D├ęc.2013

cr├ędit photo:

- Photographie d'un groupe d'officier prise à Rivery (Somme-FRANCE) : Australian War Memorial

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Sommaire du dossier Cecil Healy...

Cecil Healy before the war

Preface by David WILSON

Who was really Cecil Healy ?

Cecil Healy and the Crawl Stroke

Cecil Healy at the Olympic Games

Cecil Healy, the lifesaver

Cecil Healy, the brave

The Soldier

From the pool to the battlefield

Healy came in France

The school officer

The False Death

The Drama

♦ Cecil HEALY map ♦