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.

His father Walter Edward Wallace was born in India on 12 September 1856, the son of Major General John Duncan Campbell Wallace and Emily Hogg, and was baptised at Cannanore, Madras on 23 October 1856. He had come up to Worcester College, Oxford in May 1877 at the age of 20, and at the time of his marriage in 1880 he was still an undergraduate, but working as a tutor at East Ravendale, Lincolnshire.

Cyril’s mother Eleanor May Moultrie was born in Houghton-le-Spring, Durham and baptised there on 9 July 1856, the daughter of the Revd Gerald Moultrie. By 1880 she was living at South Leigh in Oxfordshire, where her father was the Vicar.

Cyril’s parents were married in South Leigh on 11 August 1880. At the time of the 1881 census they were living at The College, South Leigh, with 15 boy boarders aged between 10 and 15.

They 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 on 29 March 1885 and baptised there on 2 May)
  • 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 continued to work as a tutor until he obtained his B.A. in 1884, and then 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 living at The Green, Stoney Stratford with his father Walter (34), his mother Eleanor (34), and his siblings Alexander (9), Gerard (6), and Margaret (3). Also living in the family home were six boy pupils aged between 13 and 16, and four servants (a nurse, cook, parlourmaid, and nursemaid.

Cyril’s father Walter Edward Wallace 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 himself, aged ten, was boarding at a preparatory school at The Gables, Portinscale, above Derwent. His widowed mother Eleanor Wallace was living at The College, South Leigh again with her daughter Margaret (13), her own widowed mother Elizabeth Moultrie (71) and her two unmarried sisters Ada Moultrie (43) and Agatha Moultrie (34). Cyril's brother Gerard (16) was boarding at St Edmund's School for the Orphan Sons of Clergy in Canterbury, and his eldest brother Alexander (19) was serving in the army in the South African War.

By 1911 Cyril (20) was an assistant master at Pierremont Hall Preparatory School in Broadstairs, Kent, and he spent census night there. His brother Alexander (29) was probably serving aborad in the army; Gerard (26) Gerard (26) was probably in South Africa, as by 1914 he was a Captain in the Union Defence Force of South Africa; and his sister Margaret (23) was an assistant mistress at a small private school for girls called Mildredsbourne in Broadstairs, Kent. His widowed mother Eleanor was still living with her aged mother in South Leigh.

In about 1914 Cyril's mother Eleanor May Wallace moved to 16 Frenchay Road in St Margaret’s parish, which explains why two of her sons are listed on the St Margaret’s war memorial.

At the time war broke out Cyril was a teacher at Bishop Cotton’s School in Bangalore.

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. He was described as being of South Leigh when probate was granted, probably because he had never actually lived in north Oxford.

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 survived: he died in South African in 1951. This probably explains how his brother Cyril's plaque 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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