Cecil Henry DALTON (aka Jim) [1903-1966] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Cecil Henry DALTON (aka Jim) [1903-1966]

Names
Given: 
Cecil Henry
Family: 
Dalton
Alias / nickname: 
Jim
Sex: 
Male
Status: 
Deceased
Birth
Date: 
1903-10-31
Birthplace (town, state): 
Islington, London
Birthplace (country): 
Death
Date: 
1966-07-04
Cause of death: 
coronary occlusion

I am looking for info about my father, Cecil Henry Dalton, a former major with the Royal Army Service Corps, who was demobbed in 1953. It was only through a chance discovery on the internet, two years ago, that I discovered that he had died in 1966 in Hong Kong, where he is buried in Happy Valley cemetery. He had been stationed in Hong Kong for the last years of his military service but returned there after being demobbed, to live as a civilian. I sent for his death certificate which led to new discoveries thanks to the archives of the South China Morning Post. At one point my dad co-owned or co-managed a pub called The Sportsman’s Arms on Cornwall Avenue, near to the old Astor Hotel. (Someone has posted an old business card from this pub on Gwulo!)

I also discovered that the year after he left us, my father came up before the magistrate in Kowloon for failing to support his wife (not my mum!) and their infant son who lived in Sheffield. In the court report, his address was given as Diamond Farm, Diamond Hill.

My father has been a big mystery to me for most of my life and I would love to find out more about him, the area where he lived, the ‘European-style’ pub that he ran with a married couple called the Eagers, and the surrounding area, and any info about expat life in Hong Kong at that time, especially for someone who had been a military veteran. Might there have been clubs for former servicemen, or organisations which gave support to elderly or infirm ex-soldiers who had fallen on hard times? In the photograph on his grave my father appears to be least partly blind and there is no mention on his headstone of a loving wife or family, but presumably someone paid for his funeral? 

Comments

Here's what we have on that area:

https://gwulo.com/map-of-places#17/22.29767/114.17318/Map_by_ESRI-Marker...

You can click on a marker to see the Place name, then click the Place name to see any notes / photos we have.

Given his role in the RASC, involved in supply (such as provision of food, petrol and lubricants, fuel and light, hospital supplies disinfectants) and transport (of aforesaid mentioned supplies together with ammunition, engineer stores, ordinance stores and post) as well as trained to fight as infantry, he must have put to good use of his army training days when running a pub in HK!

 

1911 British Census (2nd April 1911)

 

Age 7

Address: 23 Benwell Road, Drayton Park, Holloway, London, England

Mother: Charlotte Cecelia Dalton (age 33)

Siblings: Sidney Arthur Dalton (age 9) and Maurice Victor Dalton (age <1)

 

All family members born in Islington, London

 

Parish: Islington

Township: Holloway

Registration district: Islington, Highbury

County: London

Country: England

Series: RG14

Piece: 1001

Enum. District: 30

Family: 259

Line: 3

 

Archive Reference: WO102/28

 

Name: C.H. Dalton

Incident Date: 1938

Information: Authority: Army Order 79/38

Rank: Staff Sergeant

Service Number: S/6072

Service: British Army

Primary Unit: Royal Army Service Corps

 

UK Army List 1945 and 1947

 

Name: C.H. Dalton

Nationality: British

Information: Regular Army Emergency Commission. Quarter-Master

Rank: Lieutenant

Rank (2nd): Captain (War Substantive)

Regiment: Royal Army Service Corps

Seniority Date: 24th September 1941

 

He would have been eligible for the War Medal (1939-1945), 1939-45 Star and the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal 

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/22478405

Conversation continued from: https://gwulo.com/node/48284#11/22.3443/114.1754/Map_by_ESRI-Markers/100

 

“But just why he was sent away from his family remains a mystery…” 

Let’s step back in time a bit. 

Marriage Record  

Charlotte Cecelia Kelly married Arthur Archibald Dalton on 26th May 1901 at the Parish Church of St. Mary, Islington in Middlesex according to the Rites and Ceremonies of the Established Church (i.e. Church of England) after Banns. They were married by the Curate A.T. Hollis. The witnesses were the Bride’s father, Samuel Cookson Kelly and Emily Ada Kelly. 

Arthur Archibald was stated to be 27 years of age (c.1874), a bachelor, working as a ‘Warehouseman’ and living at 9 Canonbury Road. His father was William Dalton and his occupation a Silversmith. 

Charlotte Cecelia Kelly was stated to be 24 years of age (c.1877), a spinster, no profession and living at 9 Ellington Street. Her father was Samuel Cookson Kelly and his occupation a Composter.  

Baptism record for Parish Church St Mary, Islington 

Charlotte Cecelia Kelly was born on 3rd June 1877. She was baptised as an adult on 5th May 1895 at the Parish of St Mary, Islington. Her parents were Samuel Kelly and Charlotte, living at 64 Colebrook Row and Samuel was working as a Printer.  

Arthur Archibald Dalton is a little trickier to trace. I’ll get back to it later. 

Newspaper: Islington Gazette 

I found this on page 4 of the Islington Gazette, 19th October 1910:

Arthur Archibald Dalton Islington Gazette 19th October 1910.png
Arthur Archibald Dalton Islington Gazette 19th October 1910.png, by eurasian_david

 

Fact: Arthur Archibald Dalton was in debt for at least 4 years and was struggling to support his wife and growing family. By the 1911 British Census in April there were 3 sons (ages 9, 7 and <1) to support – one of them was your father.  

United States World War I Draft Registration Cards (NARA Series M1509) 

In the registration year 1917-1918, there was an Archibald Arthur Dalton, born 2nd October 1872 in Ireland, residing in New York City No 105 in the state of New York, United States of America. 

Familysearch.org – New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940 

Arthur Archibald Dalton married on 18th June 1932 in Manhattan, New York, New York, USA at the age of 61 (born c.1871), was described as ‘single’, white race, born in London, England and parents were William Dalton and Alice Lomond. The bride was Bertha Rose, age 45 (born c.1887), single, white race, born in New York City, New York and parents were Joseph Rose and Erma M. Emody.  

1930 US Census

Although the above two were married in 1932, the two of them described themselves as married in the 1930 US Census. Arthur Dalton’s age then was 58 (born c. 1872), he immigrated to the US in 1912 and was working as an electrician and claiming to be born in England.  

UK Electoral Register 1934

Charlotte Cecelia Dalton was living at Fairbridge Road, Islington East and North 

FreeBMD

Charlotte Cecelia Dalton died in the October quarter of 1961 in Shoreditch, London. It seemed she never remarried. 

1939 Register

Arthur A. Dalton, born 2nd October 1871 (the date tallies with the US WWI Draft but off by 1 year), living at 49 Tilson Road, Camberwell, London, described as ‘single’, living by himself and occupation was ‘Lectures and Free Lance Writer’ (tallies with the Islington newspaper report in 1910) 

There was a death registered as ‘Arthur A. Dalton’ in the April quarter of 1939 in Poplar London age 66 (born c. 1873). I’m not sure if that was him but it’s the best fit.  

Arthur Archibald or Archibald Arthur’s birth is tricky to trace – London? (no actual fit in the records) or Ireland? 

Hypothesis

We can see Arthur Archibald Dalton can be loose with the facts when it comes to his name, age, place of birth, marital status, earnings, and employment status.  

Maybe Arthur Archibald left the UK to the USA to avoid prison due to bad debts as alluded to in the newspaper report. As noted by the April 1911 British Census, he was nowhere to be seen in the UK household, even though his wife was still ‘wife’. (i.e. not widowed). He may have disappeared to the USA by 1912. The wife Charlotte must have struggled with no breadwinner and this may explain why your father ended up in the Hereford Working Boys and Industrial School. It would be interesting to find out what happened to his brothers too. 

Hi David,

That newspaper article is PURE gold! I am so grateful for your researches on my behalf, I really can't thank you enough. I don't want to deluge you with my personal info - there is no reason why you should be as fascinated by my long-standing dad mystery as I am - but I sense that you actually enjoy filling in the gaps in people's histories, (or else why be so kind to a total stranger?). So I thought you might appreciate learning some more background to Arthur Archibald's court appearance. Two or three years ago, I managed to trace one of Sidney Arthur Dalton's daughters, Maureen, my cousin who is ten or so years older than me. I wrote to her with my phone number explaining that I was trying to find out more about my dad's life, and one evening she called me. It seems that her father was not a very pleasant man, he drank to excess and was abusive to her mum, qualities I suspect he shared with his father. She only met her grandfather twice. Once, the family were walking  near Hyde Park Corner, and seeing a man ranting from a soap box her dad said, 'That's your grandad.' She went very quiet after telling me this, before she explained that her grandfather was a Mosleyite. So the 'Socialism' he espoused so proudly in court, was actually National Socialism.... 

 

Hi Annie,

I'm glad I can be of help. I know that euphoric feeling when you get to break down a brick wall or find that vital piece of information that opens up whole vistas of opportunities. It's a win-win situation. For me, it's relatively easy to get hold of such information (sometimes!) and to bring closure or joy to someone else, is it's own reward. It's educational for me too on many levels. That is the weird thing: for everyone else in the world, such information is of little to zero interest, but to that one person, its pure gold. Trust me, I know the feeling.

If you want more, I have more

I just found this:

Arthur A. Dalton Newcastle Daily Chronicle Page2 28th January 1909.png
Arthur A. Dalton Newcastle Daily Chronicle Page2 28th January 1909.png, by eurasian_david

 

He is quite the firebrand orator. Here, he seems to be London born and bred. Plus he used to be an ex-soldier and have served in India and the Boer War. This may explain why your Dad also gravitated towards the Army. You certianly have interesting family members! 

Oh, and thanks for sharing!

Thank you again, David. Yet again you have found me a gem.  I would be grateful for any info you have time (and the inclination) to access. There are so many mysteries. When he met my mum my father told her rather apologetically that he was ten years older than she was. In fact, I now know that he was TWENTY years older, the rascal! This discrepancy, of course, allowed him to cleverly smooth over the years in which he had been married to another woman from whom, so far as I know, he was never divorced. Her name was Lilian Joan Anderson, and was 23 years old when they married in Jaffa, in 1939. She was a teacher at an army base. I found her in Ancestry births  but after her marriage she seems to vanish entirely from official records. I often wonder what happened to her, what stories she would tell about my dad, if they had any children. Was she the same woman who lived in Sheffield and pursued him through the courts for maintenance for their child when he was in Kowloon,(I found this out from the South China Morning Post)  or was she someone he had met AFTER he 'married'  my mum? I am an only child, but somewhere out there I have half-siblings. 

During our phone conversation, my newly-discovered cousin Maureen told me the one solitary story that she had heard about my dad when she was growing up. (though I suspect this family narrative was more of a face-saving half truth.) 'Well, they just said that when he was fourteen, Cecil suddenly decided he wanted to run away to sea, so he stole his father's coat so he could pawn it, and no one ever saw him again.' Apart from that damning anecdote, my dad was never mentioned. When he joined the RASC, two years underage, he said both his parents were dead.  

Another story about my dad that my mum told me over and over. They were on their honeymoon in the Forest of Dean. My mum had chosen their destination on the recommendation of a friend. 'Your dad had nothing whatsoever to do with it!' my mum always said, still baffled by what happened towards the end of their stay. They had gone to visit the nearby town of Hereford and my dad gradually became more and more taciturn and tense. When my mum asked what was wrong he told her that he had been sent to an orphanage there, had been thrashed for a misdemeanour aged fourteen and run away. He told her that he got himself apprenticed to a baker and joined the army, lying about his age. When my mum asked why he had been sent to the orphanage, she said his face became closed and thunderous, and he told her, 'Ask me again when we've been married for ten years,' In later years, after she had been left alone to bring up his child, my mum would (understandably!) speculate that the orphanage story was just a ploy, yet another of his smooth-tongued lies. So when I finally got hold of his military records and saw where he had gone to school - Bath Street Working Boys and Industrial School, Hereford, I was extremely moved,  also thrilled that at least some of the puzzle pieces were finally coming together. Sorry, David, this has turned out to be a much much longer post than I intended! 

I am kind of excited for you because this might actually be very easy. 

The ‘less interesting’ stuff first….

Your grandfather Arthur A. Dalton really is a passionate socialist. Here he is flying the British flag in New York, New York in 1919:

Arthur A. Dalton Sun and New York Press page 11 23rd March 1919.png
Arthur A. Dalton Sun and New York Press page 11 23rd March 1919.png, by eurasian_david

It does seem his brand of socialism is the left-wing variety given he is hanging out with the Bolshevists. The complete antithesis to the Mosleyites.

 

Now, the ‘more interesting’ stuff… 

Lilian Dalton boarded the RMS Mauretania unaccompanied in Port Taufiq, Egypt and disembarked at Liverpool, England in 1943 

Passenger Manifest of RMS Mauretania of the Cunard White Line (sailed from Colombo, Ceylon to Liverpool via Cape Town, South Africa and Port Taufiq, Suez Canal, Egypt) 

Lilian Dalton, age 27

Address in UK: 664 Abbey Lane, Ecclesshall (sic) (NB– that should be Ecclesall in Sheffield)

Occupation: H/Wife

Country of Last Permanent Residence: Palestine

Country of Intended Future Permanent Residence: England

Arrived in Liverpool: 12th August 1943

 

So she lives in Sheffield.  

FreeBMD

There is a registered birth of Peter C. Dalton in the September quarter of 1946 in Sheffield whose mother’s birth surname was Anderson  

This might be the woman and son in Sheffield you mentioned that your Dad was taken to court with when he was living in Kowloon, HK. 

FreeBMD

There is a Lilian J. Dalton who married Norman P. Youldon in Surrey South Western, Surrey in the December quarter of 1975 

England and Wales Deaths 1837-2007

There is a Lilian J. Youldon whose death was registered in February 1994 in Surrey South Western, Surrey, England…and crucially she was born on 2nd March 1916! Name and age fits perfectly. 

England and Wales Government Probate Death Index 1960-2019

Lilian Joan Youldon Died 10th February 1994 Surrey South Western, late of 26 Sumner Court, Farnham, Surrey

Probate date 14th April 1994 in Winchester, Hampshire

 

Get the Peter C. Dalton birth certificate from 1946 to check he is the right guy first. If yes... 

192.com

There are only 10 Peter C. Dalton’s in the UK. There is a Peter C. Dalton living at Farnham, Surrey, since at least 2002 till now.  If yes, join 192.com and you can get his phone number. I would contact him…there is a good chance he is your half-brother.

David, thank you so much for all your labours on my behalf, this has been like having my own long-distance version of the BBC's "So You Think You Know Who You Are"! I am frankly reeling. And I really don't  know what to think about Arthur Archibald! I can't help picturing him as a somewhat larger than life Dickensian character like Mrs Jellaby, spouting socialist rhetoric about the unhappy lot of the working man, whilst neglecting - and apparently abandoning - his own wife and sons to a life of extreme poverty. I am fairly sure I remember, some years ago,  coming across a record for my dad's younger brother, Maurice Victor, when he was admitted to an Infirmary attached to a local workhouse.   I am still puzzled about Arthur's beliefs. My cousin seemed so sure that her grandfather was a staunch Mosleyite - she was very obviously ashamed to have him for a relative. So either she got it very very wrong, or Arthur Archibald drastically switched allegiances later in life which would make him seem seriously unstable!

And of course the tragic parallels with my dad's own behaviour, the illicit second marriage, the eventual abdication of any responsibility for supporting his wives and children, can't really be denied. I'm glad that Lilian was eventually able to remarry and have twenty happy (I hope) years with Norman. 

 I am so grateful to you, David, for being so generous with your time - and considerable expertise. You have given me a great deal to think about. But you were absolutely right when you said I had a very 'interesting' family!
 

 

 

Hi Annie, I am so glad to have been able to sign-post and provide something new in your personal journey. What helped was that you were very generous with sharing hard, verifiable facts and also the ‘soft’ facts that added context to the former, allowing me to triangulate all the information to find something. I can only work on the data that is shared with me. 

Hopefully you will be able to locate your half-sibling. What happens next is anybody’s guess. People die all the time and when someone dies, a whole universe dies with them so don’t waste any more time. Hopefully he can provide further information about your father – letters, photos, stories etc. 

And hopefully more information about his time in HK will come to light in these forums – the original reason for your post here. Someone, somewhere must know the Eagers!  

As an aside, have you checked in with the Herefordshire Archives and Resource Centre? 

http://www.childrenshomes.org.uk/HerefordBoysIS/

 

best wishes

David

Hi David

Yes, I did contact Herefordshire Archives. Sadly, they have almost no records from Bath Street School. They did send me one very brief (two-page)  memoir written by a former pupil (inmate?), who had, like my dad, been sent there from London. He praises the school rather floridly for changing his bad old ways, but this is not wholly convincing!  Plus he also talks about other aspects of his stay, for instance compulsory church attendance where the boys had to enter through a different door, then wait till all the regular congregation had left before they were allowed to go back to the school. I had also seen these extraordinarily Dickensian photographs online but they still pierce my heart on my father's behalf. Those boys all look undernourished as my father was when he first joined the army, and even the prize winners and the band members in their spiffy uniforms look incredibly sad... Mr Griffiths, the archivist who replied to me, suggested that I might write to the London Metropolitan archive to see if they had any records (court cases etc) that might shed light on exactly why my father was sent to Bath Street School. I did write but received no reply. 
 

I do intend to order a copy of Peter Dalton's birth certificate. I have to confess that I feel a little cautious about contacting him, if he does indeed turn out to be my half brother. My father's behaviour to him and his mother must have caused them both a great deal of distress, and there's a strong possibility that he may not even know of my existence. But of course when I think of the possibility of 'letters, photos, stories' to quote from your post above,  the writer in me is wild with curiosity! 

And yes, as you say, someone somewhere must know the Eagers! I would love to know more about my father's life in Hong Kong. My mum and I were originally supposed to go out to join him, when he returned there after he was demobbed, but then he lost his job with Crawfords (the biscuit people) , and with it, the promised apartment, (or so he told my mum) and his life generally fell apart. I now know this was the same year that Lilian was pursuing him for maintenance.  Anyway,  after one last desperate-sounding letter we never heard from or saw my father  again. But I have always felt that Hong Kong was my 'road not taken'. I was only 6-years old when I last saw him, but I still remember how alien he seemed here, and how he spoke as if HK was now his true home. I guess it allowed him to reinvent himself in a way that he would not have been allowed to do in the class-ridden UK, of that time. He might have been a major in the army, but as a civilian he was a nobody once again, just as he had been as a boy...

Best wishes,

Annie

PS I have just ordered the birth certificate! 

A quick browse through under Hong Kong company incorporations in 1957 shows that the barkeepers of the Sportsmans Arms were Cyril Thomas Eager and Margaret Eager. They resided at 1A  Kimberley New Street, Kowloon which is close by to the Sportsmans Arms. Information on Margaret Eager appears here on gwulo. As noted here under RAOC, a Cyril Thomas Eager served in Hong Kong during the war years and would appear to have stayed on in Hong Kong post war.

In 1958/59, there was a district court case involving the Sportsmans Arms Ltd (plaintiffs) against C. H. Dalton (defendant)  A snippet view of the case appears here 

Hi Annie, if Peter C. Dalton is your half-brother, I’d write to him first rather than a phone call. That’s what I have done when I have reached out of the blue to someone on my tree! It gives him a chance to digest and reflect on the significant news and before (hopefully) he chooses to reply. A phone call might be viewed as a prank and may catch him unawares putting him on the spot when he might not have the mental bandwidth to deal with such a news at that point in time.

 

A few bits and bobs:

London Metropolitan Archives

https://search.lma.gov.uk/scripts/mwimain.dll/205520342?UNIONSEARCH&APPLICATION=UNION_VIEW&LANGUAGE=144&simple_exp=y&HISTORY=LMA_DESCRIPTION&ERRMSG=[WWW_LMA]err.htm&REPORT=WEB_SUMMARY

There is some limited information to the Hereford Boys Industrial School for 1918 and 1921. It’s not on-line but a physical document that needs to be seen in person. The 1918 year may or may not be relevant for your dad. Whether you are close enough physically to visit or have the inclination to go through this avenue of research would be up to you.

The Carl Smith Collection (Card number 92887)

https://search.grs.gov.hk/en/searchcarl.xhtml?q=Dalton&page=1

Your father is mentioned (incorrectly indexed as ‘C.R. Dalton’) interestingly in relation to burial for St John’s Cathedral with his death date as 4th July 1966 and his occupation as ‘retired major’. Was he interned initially at St John’s Cathedral before subsequent transfer to the Hong Kong Cemetery at Happy Valley? Was there a service at St John’s Cathedral? Who came? Just more mysteries for you! Worth enquiring St John’s Cathedral for this.

moddsey’s find is a great lead:

Cyril Thomas Eager (29th March 1907 Exminster, Devon-13th December 1964 San Francisco, California)

He is buried in San Mateo, California:

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/105175500/cyril-t-eager

Maybe David (Admin) can make a person page for him then details about his life can be filled in since his wife and issue already exist on gwulo, specifically his son, Cyril Thomas Eager, born in Shanghai 7th October 1940 and son of Cyril Thomas Eager and Margaret Pia Duff:   

https://gwulo.com/node/13034

I’m not going to post anything else beyond the above regarding Cyril T Eager Junior atm as he is still living in the USA. But it’s not hard to trace him. So that is another point of contact to ask re: Sportsmans Arms!  

Hi again, David,

I don't know if you have found this too in your searches, but for me it seems to go in waves. Finding out - almost by accident! - that my dad was buried in Hong Kong led to a sudden burst of startling new discoveries. Finally being allowed to access his military records set another wave in motion. And now you have added enormously to my little store of information about my dad and granddad. 
I am baffled by the record from St John’s Cathedral. I found two news items from the archives of the South China Morning Post concerning his funeral and there was no mention of the Cathedral, only the Happy Valley cemetery. I will definitely investigate the London Metropolitan archives. Stupidly, I didn't even realise I could do it online!  The court case involving my dad (another court case!) is also mentioned briefly in the South China Morning Post. I don't really understand it, except that there was some kind of financial dispute between him and presumably the Eagers. Thank you for the tips about them by the way. I will do my best to follow them up. 

And yes, I totally agree,  much better to write than phone my (possible) half brother, as I did with my cousin. I don't want to be a source of any additional trauma for anyone.

Thank you so much for so enthusiastically - not to mention altruistically! - entering into and transforming my search. My daughter says you are like the Indiana Jones of the internet!


 

I told my friend Roxey about the funeral puzzle. She grew up in HK in the '50s - and is herself half Chinese. I've never met her incidentally, she lives in San Francisco, but we have become very good friends over the past several years and she has enthusiastically cheered on my sporadic discoveries re my elusive dad. Anyway, this is what she had to say:

'Re St John's Cathedral: No actual burials at site since no cemetery.  BUT it was THE church for colonials.  If I recall, your dad was living on the Kowloon side, and there WAS a C of E over there, St. Andrew's.  Burial at what was then known as the Colonial Cemetery, however, would mean services over in HK.  There is a small non-denominational chapel (holds about fifty people comfortably) at the cemetery.  A priest from St John's could--and sometimes did-- hold services at the chapel.  That your dad had a service at St John's rather than the chapel means to me that he must have had some standing in the expat community.  Can't remember if he was still married to other wife then.  If so, I suppose she made the arrangements.  If not, I wonder who did.  After service, the hearse would have taken body to Happy Valley, cars of mourners following.  Maybe a half hour ride.'

 

 

 

Hi, David,

I have finally received my half-brother Peter's birth certificate, it must be him,  his dad is helpfully listed as a captain in the RASC. However his middle initial, C, actually stands for Charles, not Christopher, so I have a bit more delving to do. 
Thank you so much for getting me this far!

Annie

Wow Annie, thanks for the update! I really hope this will turn out well. So many twists and turns. With family history, I find the more answers found, the more hydra of questions keep popping up. 

If you find out any more info and you're willing to share, let me know and I'll see if I can dig up more stuff. Internet archaeology#