Tom Cecil Noel was awarded the Military Cross as a soldier and a Bar to it as an airman before being killed aged 20. He was born at Cottesmore, the eldest of three sons of Gerard Cecil and Madelaine Edith Noel. The family lived at Cottesmore House in the village. Tom was educated at Eton College, and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant on probation with the King's Own Scottish Borderers on his seventeenth birthday. He was confirmed in his rank on 4 September 1915. He served on the Western Front and won his MC for his actions on 26 September 1917. His citation read: "For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. Previous to laying a forming up tape for his battalion, he reconnoitred the ground under exceptionally difficult circumstances, under heavy hostile fire. Later, he successfully and accurately laid the tape, and throughout the action of the following day led his men with the utmost ability and contempt of danger, setting a splendid example to all." Tom transferred to the the Royal Flying Corps, later the Royal Air Force, serving with No. 20 Squadron as an Observer. He played a part in destroying 23 enemy aircraft and capturing one, being awarded a Bar to his MC along the way. His citation read: "In four days he and his pilot destroyed seven enemy machines and drove three down out of control. His courage and skill are of the first order, and of inestimable value to his squadron." Tom was shot down himself at Westrozebeke on 22 August 1918 and was buried by the Germans. After the war his body was moved to Perth Cemetery (China Wall), grave XVI.A.9. Tom is remembered on four war memorials in Rutland, the one in Cottesmore but also at Great Casterton and Little Casterton (on a plaque originally placed in Toll Bar Methodist Chapel) and on the Gainsborough memorial in Exton's Garden of Remembrance. There is a plaque to his memory in Exton's St Peter and St Paul's Church (above) and another plaque in the grounds of Eton College.
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