Haselden, Cyril Gerrard

Haselden, Cyril Gerrard


Royal Engineers attached Australian Corps HQ      

Died in service on Wednesday 27 November 1918 (aged 40)


Maubeuge (Sous-le-Bois) Cemetery, France (Grave DD. 7)


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Spetisbury Dorset War Memorial in the grounds of St John the Baptist Church

Bank Street Unitarian Chapel Memorial (1914-1918)

Bolton County Roll of Honour (1914-1918)

Commemorative Roll at the Australian War Memorial


There is an interesting connection between Captain Cyril Gerrard Haselden and the Andrews family of Comber.

Captain Cyril Gerrard Haselden’s widow, Jane Lawson Haselden (nee Ormrod), married James Andrews, the brother-in-law of Lieutenant Colonel Laurence Arthur Hind who is commemorated on Comber and District War Memorial.

I am indebted to both Stephen Brooks (Australia) and Sandra Gilpin (Comber) for the details that follow:

Cyril Gerrard Haselden was born in 1878 in Bolton, Lancashire, the son of Thomas Haselden and Emma Gerrard. Thomas was born in 1847 in Bolton, the son of James, a cotton spinner, and Emma, born the same year, was the daughter of a local solicitor, Joseph Gerrard. They married on 7 February 1872 at the Bank Street Unitarian Chapel in Bolton by Rev. Jeffrey Worthington.  Cyril was the fourth of their six children:

Ethel Marie Haselden (born 4 December 1872; died 24 September 1955; never married)

Lester Longworth Haselden (born 11 September 1874; died 22 November 1941; married Eliza Hesketh Tillotson in 1911)

Linda Beatrice Haselden (born 30 September 1876; died 16 May 1940; married Andries Bernardus Wessels Rousseau in 1926)

Cyril Gerrard Haselden (born 1878)

Tom Arnold Haselden (born 1881; died 17 January 1931; married Beatrice Maude Thomasina Welby in 1903)

Josephine Mary Haselden (born 1884; died 1966; never married)

Thomas Haselden became a notable architect, with an office in Bowker’s Row, Bolton and many local prominent buildings were the result of his designs. In the 1881 census, Cyril was living with his family in Belmont Road, Sharples, a suburb of Bolton. In 1888, Thomas Haselden died, and, in the 1891 census, 12-year-old Cyril was a boarder at Gorse Cliff School in Boscombe, Hampshire. His widowed mother and his siblings were all living with Emma’s mother in Chorley New Road, Bolton.  In April 1892, Cyril started at the prestigious Bolton School, yet left after a year ‘due to ill health’.

No more is known of Cyril’s subsequent education; however he later joined the staff of the Bolton Borough Surveyor’s Department as a surveyor. In the 1901 census, Cyril, his mother and two siblings were still living with their Gerrard grandmother in Bolton.

On 14 November 1903, departing Southampton aboard the ship Saxon, Cyril migrated to South Africa, where he accepted a position with the Waterworks in Maitland, Cape Colony. On 5 April 1905, Cyril married Jane Lawson Ormrod at the Unitarian Chapel in Cape Town by Rev. Ramsden Balmforth. Jane was born in 1878 in Heaton, Lancashire, a township forming part of the Bolton Borough and her father, Joseph Ormrod, was a share and stockbroking agent. Jane and one of her brothers had arrived in Cape Town just prior to the wedding, travelling on board the Goorkha, leaving Southampton on 25 March 1905.

Cyril and Jane Haselden had three children, all born in South Africa:

Alexander Gerard Haselden (born 13 July 1906)

Joyce Haselden (born 29 April 1909; died 29 May 1990; married Jeffrey Adam Swindon Hepburn in 1940)

Cyril Ormrod Haselden (born 5 October 1910)

Over the years, the Haselden family made numerous boat trips back to England and family members also visited them in South Africa.

Prior to the First World War, Cyril, Jane and the children returned to live in Spetisbury, Dorset and it was there that Cyril enlisted with the Royal Engineers and was allotted the regimental number 75347. Rising through the ranks from Corporal to Captain, Cyril served in France, and, for reasons yet unknown, he was later attached to the Australian Army Corps Headquarters. He was stationed in Maubeuge in the north of France, close to the Belgium border, when the Armistice was declared in November 1918.

Maubeuge had been under German control for practically the entire war and was only liberated by the Commonwealth forces a few days prior to the cessation of hostilities. Tragically, Cyril died on 27 November 1918, a victim of the virulent Spanish influenza pandemic which swept through Europe. He was 40 years old.

Cyril Gerrard Haselden was buried in the Sous-le-Bois Cemetery (Grave DD.7), one of three cemeteries at Maubeuge, joining 114 Commonwealth burials of the First World War. He is remembered on the Spetisbury Dorset War Memorial in the grounds of St John the Baptist Church, Bank Street Unitarian Chapel Memorial (1914-1918), Bolton County Roll of Honour (1914-1918) and the Commemorative Roll at the Australian War Memorial.

On 17 May 1922, Cyril’s widow, Jane Lawson Haselden (nee Ormrod), married James Andrews at the Spetisbury Church. James, already a Lord Justice of Appeal in the Supreme Court of Northern Ireland, was appointed Lord Chief Justice in 1937 and was created a baronet in 1942. The family lived at Eusemere, Comber in County Down, Ireland and, upon her death on 19 October 1964 (aged 86), Jane was buried in the Andrews family plot at the Comber Non Subscribing Presbyterian Church graveyard.