HALSTEAD, Charles Cecil
(Service number 48855)
|First Rank||Lance Corporal||Last Rank||Private|
|Date||6 June 1894||Place of Birth||Timaru|
|Date||21 February 1917||Age||22 years 8 months|
|Address at Enlistment||Three Springs, Fairlie|
|Previous Military Experience||2nd South Canterbury Regiment (still serving)|
|Next of Kin||W. J. HALSTEAD (father), Three Springs, Fairlie|
|Medical Information||Height 5 feet 5½ inches. Chest measurement 34-36 inches. Complexion dark. Eyes brown. Hair brown. Eyes both 6/6. Hearing and colour vision both normal. Limbs well formed. Full and perfect movement of all joints. Chest well formed. Heart and lungs normal. No illnesses. Free from hernia, varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Vaccinated (right arm). Good bodily and mental health. No slight defects. No fits.|
|Served with||New Zealand Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||New Zealand Expeditionary Force|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||26th Reinforcements Canterbury Infantry Regiment, C Company|
|Date||9 June 1917|
|Embarked From||Wellington||Destination||Devonport, England|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With||Canterbury Infantry Regiment, 1st Battalion|
|Service Medals||British War Medal; Victory Medal|
Award Circumstances and Date
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
|Date||10 February 1918||Age||23 years|
|Place of Death||Belgium|
|Cause||Killed in action|
|Notices||Timaru Herald, 4 March 1918|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Buttes New British Cemetery (NZ) Memorial, Polygon Wood, Zonnebeke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium; Memorial Pleasant Point Cemetery (parents' plot)|
|Memorial Reference||Pleasant Point - General Section; Row 21; Plot 180|
|New Zealand Memorials||Timaru Memorial Wall; Fairlie War Memorial; Kimbell School Roll of Honour; Pleasant Point School Memorial.|
Charles Cecil Halstead, known as Cecil, was the only son – that is, the only son to reach adulthood - of Walter James and Eliza Anne (Annie, née Butler) Halstead, of Pleasant Point, South Canterbury, and afterwards of Fairlie. He was born on 6 June 1894 at Timaru, third in a family of five. The eldest, Decima, died in 1903 at the age of eleven; the second, Walter, died in 1893 at 5 months; the fourth, George, died in 1899 at 2 years; the youngest, Olive Eliza Gladys, who was born in 1904, married a few years after her mother’s death in 1947 and died in 1980. Prizes which were awarded to the children of Silverstream Sunday School on the results of examination were presented on the first Sunday of August 1901. Little Cecil received first prize for boys in the Junior Class. Cecil attended Silverstream School where, in 1906, he was awarded one of the two prizes for spelling which had been presented by his father. The following year he gained his proficiency certificate. At the annual meeting of the St Columba’s Bible Class, Fairlie, which was held on 30 June 1915, Cecil was appointed the treasurer.
Charles Cecil Halstead was a farm assistant for his father at Three Springs, Fairlie, when his name was drawn in the first military ballot for No. 10 (South Canterbury) recruiting district in November 1916. He appealed his call-up, saying that he was a farm assistant and that the farm could not be run without him. His appeal was, however, dismissed. He enlisted on 21 February 1917 at Timaru. Single and Methodist, he named his father as next-of-kin – W. J. Halstead, Three Springs, Fairlie. He was 5 feet 5½ inches tall and had a chest measurement of 34-36 inches. His complexion was dark, his eyes and hair brown. His sight, hearing and colour vision were all normal, as were his heart and lungs, and his limbs and chest were well formed. Free of diseases, illnesses, defects and fits, he was in good bodily and mental health. Halstead was still serving with the 2nd South Canterbury Regiment.
C. C. Halstead was among the men of the South Canterbury quota of the 27th Reinforcements who left Timaru for Trentham by the express on 7 March 1917. Before leaving they were entertained at afternoon tea by the ladies of the Patriotic War Relief Society. The opportunity was taken, when Private Halstead’s final leave was about to expire, in mid-April 1917, to bid him farewell. His many Kimbell friends gathered in the local school room. His old school mates presented him with a small gift. “Addressing the company Mr Smith stressed the importance of everyone leaving no stone unturned in doing what they could, both in lending assistance to the one great cause, and also giving their minds, to what those who were away at the front, and those who, like their guest of the evening, were going there, were doing for those who remained behind.” Dancing to excellent music, musical items, and the singing of “Soldiers of New Zealand” by a wee tot made for a “highly satisfactory” function. At the end of May at Trentham Camp, Private C. C. Halstead, 26th Reinforcements, C Company, was appointed lance-corporal, the promotion taking effect on 1 June. It was with the Canterbury Infantry Regiment of the 26th Reinforcements, that Lance Corporal C. C. Halstead embarked, departing from Wellington for Devonport, England, by the “Willochra” on 9 June 1917. He was admitted to the ship’s hospital (Willochra) on 3 August 1917, suffering from influenza, and discharged on 6th.
On arrival in England, Cecil Halstead reverted to the rank of private and marched into Sling on 16 August. He proceeded overseas, to France, on 26 October and, after time in camp at Etaples, joined the 1st Battalion of the Canterbury Infantry Regiment on 19 December 1917. In January 1918 he spent three weeks on detachment to Brigade School. Little would he have contemplated only thirteen days in action.
Charles Cecil Halstead, 48855, C.I.B., the son of W. J. Halstead, Three Springs, Fairlie, was killed in action in the Field in Belgium on 10 February 1918. He was buried at La Butte and his name is inscribed on the Buttes New British Cemetery (NZ) Memorial, Polygon Wood, Zonnebeke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. Private Cecil Halstead is remembered also on his parents’ beautiful headstone in the Pleasant Point Cemetery. His medals – British War Medal and Victory Medal – were sent to his father on 21 April 1921, by which date Mr W. J. Halstead was residing at Pleasant Point. The scroll and plaque were also despatched, in 1921 and 1922 respectively.
For some years, his loving parents and sister (their only surviving child, Olive Eliza Gladys) remembered Cecil by way of an In Memoriam notice in the Timaru Herald.
“In memory of our dear son, . . . . .”
“One less at home.
The charmed circle broken—a dear face
Missed day by day from its accustomed place.
But cleansed, and sacred, and perfected by grace.
One more in heaven,
One less on earth.
Its pain, its sorrow and toil to share,
One less the pilgrim’s daily cross to hear,
One more the crown of ransomed saints to wear,
At home in heaven.” (10 February 1919.)
“Though lost to sight,
To memory ever dear.” (10 February 1921.)
“The midnight stars are shining,
On a grave far, far away;
Where comrades laid our dear son and brother,
Just five years ago to-day.” (10 February 1923.)
By his will dated 7 June 1917, Charles Cecil Halstead appointed his uncle – George Butler of Pleasant Point – as the sole executor and trustee of his will. He bequeathed all his estate to his father, Walter James Halstead of Fairlie, Canterbury, and should he predecease him, to his mother, Eliza Ann Halstead, of the same address. In the event, the will was executed by the Public Trustee as authorized by George Butler. A certificate of death is attached to the probate.
In a letter dated 16 March 1918, Kia Ora Club, Brockenhurst, Hants, Hugh N. O. Jones writes – “Dear Mother, Well I got bad news today. I heard my mate was killed in France. Cecil Halstead from Fairlie. He has been right through with me and now he is killed. It is hard luck.” And on 20 May 1918 at Te Waikato Sanatorium, Cambridge, Hugh wrote - “Dear Mother, . . . I had to write a letter to a woman at Fairlie about her only son getting killed at the front and how he was killed. It was very hard for me as he was a great friend of mine.”
Charles Cecil Halstead is commemorated on the Timaru Memorial Wall, the Fairlie War Memorial, Kimbell School Roll of Honour and the Pleasant Point School Memorial. A tablet to the memory of the ex-pupils of the Pleasant Point District High School who lost their lives in the Great War, was unveiled in June 1922. After the singing of the National Anthem, the chairman of the school committee addressed the gathering. “He was pleased to say that the ex-pupils of the school had nobly come forward at their country’s call, prepared to do or die in defence of what they considered right against might. He was sorry to say that twenty of these men had been called upon to make the supreme sacrifice, and those present were gathered that day to do honour to these fallen ex-pupils, by unveiling a tablet to their memory.” A prayer was offered, the hymn “O God our Help” was sung; a scripture reading was given, after which “Kipling’s Recessional” was sung. Mr T. D. Burnett, M.P., who unveiled the tablet, thanked the committee for the great privilege of being asked to do “honour to the brave sons of the district who had come forward prepared to do their utmost in their nation’s trial.” In pulling the tape, which let loose the Union Jack that was covering the tablet, Mr Burnett read the names of the deceased heroes – C. C. Halstead and eighteen others. A prayer by the Rev. Hinson, the hymn “Abide with Me,” and the sounding of the “Last Post” concluded the service. The tablet bears the following inscription. — “l9l4 For King and Country 1918.”
In Memory of the Ex-pupils
Of this School,
Who gave their Lives
In the Great War.
C. Halstead is honoured on the Mackenzie District War Memorial at Fairlie. The original Mackenzie County War Memorial was unveiled on 16 December 1929. It has since been rebuilt. The parade, including the Timaru Municipal Band, 49 Returned Soldiers, the Executive Committee of the War Memorial, the Mackenzie Pipe Band, and School children from Mackenzie County Schools, formed up at the Post Office and marched to the site of the memorial. After the singing of the National Anthem, and a verse of the Canadian Anthem, the Chairman addressed the gathering, expressing gratification at the fact that at long last they were met to unveil and dedicate the memorial to the soldiers from the Mackenzie County who fell in the Great War. The design was unique in South Canterbury. It was not a cenotaph, or solely a monument of those buried elsewhere. It expressed more than that. It was a catafalque, a cairn upon which symbolically the remains of the Unknown Warrior were elevated, and were contained in the representation of a casket at the top of the structure. The base was composed of glacial boulders, and the shaft of limestone blocks. The whole erection was therefore constructed of indigenous stone. Thus symbolically the Warrior rested on his native soil. The wreath above the tablet, composed of laurel leaves carved in stone symbolised victory. The tablet on which the names were inscribed is of marble. In a lengthy address, Father Barra, who had himself served as a chaplain, outlined clearly the campaigns throughout which New Zealanders had served, fought and died. They had “stood up in their splendid manhood, enthusiastically responding from the first to the call of their country.” He paid sensitive and abundant tribute to all involved in any role in the conflicts. An avenue of oak trees commemorating Fairlie’s fallen soldiers lines its main street.
The name C. Halstead is also inscribed on the Kimble School Roll of Honour, which is now in the Mackenzie Community Centre. A photo of Pvte. Charles C. Halstead (Fairlie), killed, was printed in the Otago Witness on 3 April 1918. Mr Walter Halstead died on Easter Monday 1927 (18 April) at his home. “Merivale”, Pleasant Point, as the result of a painful accident when alighting from a slow-moving car.
Anzac Day observance was marked with solemn ceremonies in Christchurch in 1934. “With a strong parade of returned soldiers and territorials, and with commemorative services in churches and public halls throughout the province—the most notable in Christchurch being the combined service attended by thousands of persons in the King Edward Barracks in the afternoon and the returned soldiers’ service at the Cathedral in the evening — Anzac Day, 1934, was a reminder that the community has not forgotten the sacrifice of those of its sons who fell at Gallipoli. The bad weather — rain squalls at intervals and a cold wind—did not prevent the streets from being lined by the thousands who wished to pay their annual tribute as the procession marched to the barracks. There, too, the great hall was crowded while a simple service was conducted, and afterwards scores of wreaths were placed in front of the Cathedral. . . . . . The wreaths borne in the parade by members of the Christchurch Returned Soldiers’ Association were numerous and many of them were beautifully designed. At the King Edward Barracks, before the service started, they were placed on the framework provided in front of the platform, and after the service they were borne to the Cathedral, and placed on the framework erected in front of the western portal. . . . . . When displayed in front of the Cathedral they were seen and admired by many. . . . . . The following wreaths were sent in memoriam of individual soldiers: — . . . . . , C. C. Halstead, . . . . . .” (Press. 25 April 1934.)
“The large number of beautiful wreaths placed at the new war memorial next to the Cathedral [Christchurch] after the service at King Edward Barracks yesterday afternoon was a striking tribute to the men who gave their lives in the defence of their Empire. The wreaths came from all sections of the community, including military and semi-military organisations, local bodies, schools, clubs, bereaved relatives, and friends. Many persons visited Jellicoe Hall, the returned soldiers’ headquarters in Gloucester street, in the morning to view the wreaths. In the afternoon the wreaths were carried by returned men in the parade, and during the memorial service in the barracks they were placed round the dais. Besides placing the returned soldiers’ wreath at the Bridge of Remembrance, the Governor-General (Lord Galway) laid a personal wreath, made of poppies on a background of laurels, at the new war memorial. His Excellency’s wreath was inscribed: “To the imperishable memory of those gallant men who gave their lives in the Great War.” Also among the wreaths placed at the new war memorial was one from the New Zealand Government. A short service was conducted by Bishop West-Watson and Dean Julius before the wreaths were laid. Part of the hymn “Abide With Me” was sung, and the ceremony concluded with the National Anthem, played by the Woolston Band. . . . . . Wreaths sent in memory of individual and other soldiers included: — Lance-Corporal C. C. Halstead, . . . . . Among other wreaths, which included some from business firms, was one from the Hon. Sir R. Heaton Rhodes.” (Press. 26 April 1938.)
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [20 October 2013]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ Ref. AABK 18805 W5539 0049474) [17 August 2014]; CWGC [21 October 2013]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs); Pleasant Point Cemetery headstone image (Timaru District Council) [30 October 2013]; Probate record (Archives NZ/Family Search); South Canterbury Times, 7 August 1901, Timaru Herald, 9 March 1906, 20 December 1907, 5 July 1915, 25 November 1916, 6 February 1917, 6 March 1917, 18 April 1917, 28 February 1918, 4 March 1918, 10 February 1919, 12 February 1920, 10 February 1921, 27 June 1922, 10 February 1923, 19 & 21 April 1927, 2 March 1928, 16 December 1929, Evening Post, 1 June 1917, NZ Times, 2 June 1917, 28 February 1918, Otago Witness, 3 April 1918, Press, 26 April 1934, 26 April 1938 (Papers Past) [25 August 2014; 09 August 2015; 12 August 2019; 30 January 2020; 29 April 2021; 28 August 2021; 10 March 2022]; NZ Electoral Rolls (ancestry.com.au) [28 August 2021]; Extracts from letters written in 1918 by Hugh N. O. Jones to his mother (courtesy of Joy Burt, daughter of H. N. O. Jones) [July-August 2020]
Researched and Written by
Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG
Currently Assigned to
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.
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