Poppy Cyril Walter WALLACE (1890–1916) Poppy

See also Cyril’s older brother, Alexander Moultrie Wallace

Cyril Walter Wallace was born in Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire in 1890, the youngest son of Walter Edward Wallace (born in India on 12 September 1856, the son of John Duncan Campbell Wallace and Emily Hogg, and baptised at Cannanore, Madras on 23 October 1856) and Eleanor May Moultrie (born in Houghton-le-Spring, Durham and baptised there on 9 July 1856). Cyril’s parents were married in the Witney Registration District in the third quarter of 1880, and had the following children:

  • Alexander Moultrie Wallace (born in South Leigh, Oxfordshire and baptised there on 5 June 1881)
  • Hugh Duncan Wallace (born in South Leigh, Oxfordshire and baptised there on 6 August 1882; died aged two and buried there on 29 January 1885)
  • Gerard Percy Wallace (born in South Leigh, Oxfordshire and baptised there on 2 May 1885)
  • Margaret Wallace (born in South Leigh, Oxfordshire and baptised there on 16 June 1887)
  • Cyril Walter Wallace (born in Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire in 1890).

Cyril’s father, Walter Edward Wallace, had come up to Worcester College, Oxford in May 1877 at the age of 20. When in 1880 he married Alexander’s mother (who was the daughter of Gerard Moultrie, the Vicar of South Leigh) he was still an undergraduate, and at the time of the 1881 census was living with his new wife at The College, South Leigh, with 15 boy boarders aged between 10 and 15. He continued to work as a tutor until he obtained his B.A. in 1884; but when his son Gerard was baptised in 1885, he was described as a Clergyman of St James College, South Leigh.

By the time of Cyril’s birth in 1890 his parents had moved to Stony Stratford in Buckinghamshire, where they appear to have run a small boarding school for boys in their home. At the time of the 1891 census Cyril was six months old, and there were six pupils, aged between 13 and 16, living in his family’s house.

Cyril’s father died at 16 Nottingham Place, Middlesex at the age of 38 on 9 July 1895, leaving effects of £752 1s.. His executor was the Revd John Duncan Clement Wallace, clerk.

At the time of the 1901 census Cyril’s widowed mother Eleanor was living with her own widowed mother Elizabeth Moultrie (71) and her two unmarried sisters Ada (43) and Agatha (34) at The College, South Leigh. Of her children, only Margaret (13) was with her. Cyril (10) spent census night boarding at a preparatory school at The Gables, Portinscale, above Derwent.

By 1911 Cyril was an assistant master at Pierremont Hall Preparatory School in Broadstairs, Kent, and he spent census night there.

At the time war broke out he was a teacher at Bishop Cotton’s School in Bangalore. Meanwhile his widowed mother Eleanor was still living with her aged mother in South Leigh. In about 1914 she moved to 16 Frenchay Road in St Margaret’s parish, which explains why her two sons are listed on the St Margaret’s war memorial. Cyril is however described as being of South Leigh when probate was granted.

Poppy In the First World War Cyril Walter Wallace volunteered to serve in 1915, and was a Second Lieutenant in the Indian Army Reserve of Officers attached 47th Sikhs. He died in Mesopotamia at the age of 26 on 8 March 1916, and has no known grave. He is remembered on the Basra Memorial (Panel 43 and 65) and on the war memorial outside St Margaret’s Church in north Oxford.

There is also a memorial to Cyril and his older brother Alexander Moultrie Wallace (killed in action in France a year earlier at the age of 33 on 12 March 1915) in the churchyard at South Leigh, where the family had lived previously.

Administration was granted in Oxford to his mother, Eleanor Mary Wallace, on 2 August 1916. He left £254 17s. 1d.

Cyril Wallace's penny

Left: Bronze plaque in memory of Cyril Walter Wallace.

The next-of-kin of all British and Empire Service personnel who were killed as a result of the war received a named plaque, which was known popularly as the “Dead Man's Penny”.

Cyril's plaque emerged in the medal collection of the late Mr Justice Frank Kirk-Cohen, Judge of the High Court of South Africa, who was a medal collector for decades. His family will soon be returning it to the UK.

Cyril's brother Major Gerald Percy Wallace served in the South African Air Corps during the First World War, and it seems likely that this explains how it ended up in South Africa.


St Margaret's Church War Memorial

After the War

Cyril’s widowed mother
  • Mrs Eleanor May Wallace continued to live at 16 Frenchay Road until her death at the age of 74 on 14 December 1930. She was buried at South Leigh on 19 December 1930. Probate was granted to Miss Augusta Ann Pickett, and her effects came to £4,870 6s. 6d.

See also


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