Just six days before the fighting on the Western Front came to a halt, Lance Corporal Cecil Bramich from Melrose lost his battle with broncho-pneumonia at the 7th Canadian General Hospital at Etaples.
In 1916 Cecil was living and working at Melrose as a farm labourer. At the end of the March 1916 he made the journey to Claremont Army Camp where he was accepted into the Australian Imperial Force and allotted to the second group of reinforcements for the 40th Battalion. On 24 January 1917, Private Cecil Bramich left England and marched into the military camp at Etaples, a staging camp before joining the 40th Battalion who were at this time in billets at Armentieres undergoing training and providing working parties. He did not have long to wait before he got his first taste of the trenches.
On the early evening of 10 August 1918, the battalion moved from Reginald Wood, marching in artillery formation across country to the hospital near Richmond Wood on the Amiens-St. Quentin Road. The plan was to advance up the road with a tank on each flank at the 50 to 100 yards distance. When near La Flaque the enemy put down a heavy barrage with high explosive shells, shrapnel and gas. Cecil, now promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal was among an increasing number of casualties. On 19 October he became ill again and was admitted to the Canadian General Hospital at Etaples where he was diagnosed with broncho-pneumonia. Lance Cor-poral Bramich’s condition deteriorated and his family were advised that he was dangerously ill. On 6 November, despite the best nursing care that he could be given, he succumbed to illness and was later buried in the Etaples Military Cemetery.