Cecil Horace Mallett was born in Lowestoft, Suffolk on 3 January 1897 to Frank, a shipbuilder’s clerk, and Edith Mallett. He had one younger sister, Dorothy, who died in childhood. There is little information on his early education, although he appears to have been admitted to Lowestoft School of Science in 1909 at the age of 11 years. He came to Bede College in September 1915, aged 18, but attended for only one term: it is recorded in the 1916 annual report that he left during that session to join up.
Cecil joined the Suffolk Regiment, 11th Battalion (Cambridgeshire), and served with this unit from the end of 1915 to May 1917, holding the rank of Lance Corporal. On 9 January 1916 the battalion landed at Boulogne to join the B.E.F., as part of the 34th Division, 101st Brigade. The battalion fought at the Somme in July of that year, near Pozières, leading the British infantry assault. In 1916 the battalion went on to fight, as part of the 4th Army, at the battles of Albert, Bazentin Ridge and
Mouquet Farm. In April 1917, as part of the Arras offensive, it was again engaged in the First Battle of the Scarpe, 9-14 April, and the Battle of Arleux, 28-29 April.
On 30 May 1917 Cecil Mallett was discharged from the Suffolk Regiment and commissioned as temporary Sub-Lieutenant in the R.N.V.R., the Royal Naval Division originally formed in 1914 to “take, fortify or defend” naval bases. Some officers and ratings were transferred from the Navy, and some, like Mallett, were provided by the Army, but most recruits were reservists. In May 1916 the Royal Marine Brigade, 63rd Division, went to France, where it remained for the rest of the war.
In August 1917 Cecil Mallett trained with his battalion in trench warfare and construction at Blandford Camp, Dorset. At the end of August he joined 8th (Anson) Battalion, but was quickly detached in October to the 18th Corps Reinforcement Camp. After a further period of instruction in November 1917, and home leave from 18-31 December 1917, he re-joined Anson Battalion at the Front. There it fought during the first phases of the First Battle of the Somme, 1918: at St Quentin 21-23 March, Bapaume on 24-25 March, and on 5 April it took part in the Battle of the Ancre.
A total of 177,739 men of Britain and the Commonwealth were recorded as killed, wounded or missing during this first battle of the Somme (1918), among them Cecil Horace Mallett. He was transferred to the 5th Red Cross Hospital at Wimereux on 8 April with contusions to his legs and arms but died of his wounds four days later. It was reported in Bede Magazine (April 1919) that he had been buried in his dug-out by a shell, and was only rescued after 24 hours. Suffering from “extreme nervous shock” he died on 12 April at Wimereux.
Sub-Lieutenant Cecil Horace Mallett is buried in Wimereux Communal Cemetery, and his sacrifice is commemorated on a memorial plaque in St Andrew’s Church, Lowestoft, and also on the Bede College 1914-1918 Cross, Plaque, and Roll of Honour. His headstone in Wimereux is engraved: “Thrice blest are they that ever find God’s hand in all”.