Cecil Alfred Mallett was born on 27 November 1880 in Marylebone, London. He was the second of five children to Alfred, a printer and later a journalist, and his wife Emma. By 1901 the family were living in Hampstead and Cecil, aged 20, was working as an insurance clerk. During his early twenties, Mallett emigrated to New Zealand where he lived for several years before returning to England to study. He graduated from St Augustine’s College, Canterbury, a missionary college, in 1908, and in 1910 he achieved a first class in his preliminary examinations for studying Theology at Durham. Mallett undertook his studies at the university in the Epiphany and Easter terms of 1910 and as an ‘unattached’ student was not a member of any college. He gained satisfactory results in his final examinations and received his ordination on 18 December 1910 from the Bishop of Rochester at a service in which Mallett acted as the gospeller.
For the next two years Cecil Mallett worked as the vicar for the parish of Aylesford in Kent, before embarking for New Zealand again on 26 October 1912. He worked for two years as a missionary in the mining town of Ohura on the North Island and briefly returned to England in September 1914 to marry May Parkinson of Crayford, Kent. By 1915 he was the vicar of Morrinsville in the diocese of Auckland, a small farming town further north of Ohura. On 27 April of that year, Mallett was appointed to the New Zealand Chaplains Department as a captain in the 6th Haruki Regiment. He remained in Morrinsville until 7 November 1917 when he was personally recommended by the Bishop of Wellington to replace Reverend Guy Bryan-Brown, a New Zealand chaplain lately killed in action in France. Having been classified as fit for active service, Mallett, now aged 37, disembarked from Wellington with the 32nd Reinforcements on 21 November aboard the R.M.S. “Tahiti”.
Shortly after arriving in Liverpool on 8 January 1918 Mallett spent a week in a military hospital where he was admitted with measles. During his time in England he was described by a superior as having “been indefatigable in looking after the welfare and general entertainment of the Troops”. He left for France on 14 June 1918 being deployed near Etaples. At around 3 a.m. on 30 September 1918, a fire broke out in a dental hut where Mallett was sleeping. An unidentifiable body was recovered from the site and was presumed to be that of the Reverend Mallett as he had been the only occupant of the hut and could not be found anywhere else in the camp. An inquest took place resulting in a verdict of ‘accidental death’. Mallett is buried in the Etaples Military Cemetery and is also remembered on a plaque in St Matthew’s church, Morrinsville.