Regimental Number: M-17575
Cecil was born on April 9, 1905 to Harbert Barnard Lebbell and Selina Hannah (nee Houchen) Lebbell in Wayland, Norfolk, England. He had an older sister, Gladys and two younger brothers, Stanley and Graham. By 1919, Cecil had completed nine years of school and went to work as a brush factory employee for two years. He then, worked for various farmers in England from 1921 – 1923. Cecil decided to immigrate to Canada in 1923 and again worked as a farm labourer in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
Cecil eventually decided to move to the Peace District and filed a homestead application on SW 22-73-2-W6 on October 8, 1928 in an area of Bezanson known as Fitzsimmons. The property was very overgrown with trees; however, a fire swept the area in October which left the land relatively clear. Cecil cleared the remaining trees by axe and then broke the land with a team of horses. In 1929, a log cabin was built on the north-west corner of the property adjacent to cabins owned by Dexter Wagner and Mr. and Mrs. Soloman Graham. As such, the little area became affectionately known as “Punkin Center”.
On June 23, 1940, Cecil enlisted with the Royal Canadian Army, Edmonton Regiment, 18 Canadian Field Corp, in Grande Prairie. He was transferred to Edmonton for basic training followed by advanced training in Calgary. In May, 1941, Cecil successfully completed courses to become a Qualified Carpenter & Joiner “Group B”. In June, he was attached to the RCETC at Dundurn, Saskatchewan. Cecil was sent to Valcartier, Quebec followed by Halifax where he embarked for the United Kingdom on January 25, 1942. On June 3, 1944 Cecil embarked for France where he spent the following year. He arrived back in the United Kingdom on July 15, 1945. Sapper Cecil Bernard Lebbell served in Canada, the United Kingdom and Continental Europe and received the 1939 – 45 Star, France & Germany Star, Defence Medal, War Medal 1939-45 and the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal & Clasp. He was discharged on demobilization on October 4, 1945 at Calgary.
Cecil received the patent on his land in 1942. Once discharged, he returned to his homestead. He eventually sold his land and moved to Clairmont, Alberta. Cecil subsequently retired and divided his time between living in England and Grande Prairie.
Contributed by Wanda Zenner
Smoky River to Grande Prairie