Cecil Malthus was born on 24 April 1890, in Timaru. He was the son of H.P. Malthus. Cecil was selected as the Canterbury nominee for the Rhodes Scholarship in 1913. He was a German and French linguist who graduated with a M.A. from Canterbury College in 1912.
He moved to Nelson and was Assistant Master at Nelson College and Lieutenant of the Nelson College Cadets. He enlisted on 15 August and his address was given as Boys’ College, Nelson. His army serial number was 6/291 and he was a private with 12th (Nelson) Company in the Canterbury Infantry Battalion. He departed on 16 October 1914 with the Main Body of the NZEF.
He fought in the Balkan 1915, the Egyptian Expeditionary Force 1916, and Western front, 1916 theatres of war. He was admitted to hospital twice; during the Gallipoli campaign, with diarrhea in July and scarlet fever in September of 1915.
He was promoted to sergeant on 14 March 1916. He was wounded in action 25 September at the First Battle of the Somme with a bomb wound.
He wrote to his mother from a hospital in Rouen:
“I have had my usual marvelous good luck, or I would not be alive at all. I am on the roll of honour at last. I was hit by a bomb exploding under me, but the only serious wound is in the right foot, which is rather badly shattered…The boys made another successful attack and that is the main thing. It is rather annoying to miss my commission, which I would have got this week”.
He had part of his right foot removed and was discharged on 5 April, no longer fit to serve.
After the war he married Hazel Watters in Ashburton on 18 December 1918. The letters Cecil wrote to her throughout the war are on-line at Christchurch City Libraries. Initially he taught at Timaru Boys' High School. Later he was awarded a French scholarship and studied at the University of Paris. He lived overseas from 1920 to 1933 and he died in Christchurch on 25 July 1976.