b. 05/05/1881 Redhill, Surrey. d. 30/09/1915 Hooge, Belgium.
Rupert Price Hallowes (1881-1915) was born at Checkley House, Redhill, Surrey on 6th May 1881. His father was Dr Frederick Blackwood Hallowes FRCS LSA, a surgeon who trained at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London and later became a Fellow of the Obstetric Society, Member of the Pathological Society, and was medical officer at Redhill Reformatory and St Ann’s Royal Asylum Schools. He later became a GP in Redhill. Rupert’s mother was Mary Ann Taylor nee Hutchinson, daughter of the Reverend William Hutchinson of Checkley, Staffordshire. Frederick and Mary had four children including Rupert who was the youngest. His siblings were Mary Blackwood Hallowes (born 1871), William Brabazon Hallowes (born 1874) and Frederic Chaworth Hallowes (born 1877).
Rupert was educated at Conyngham House School, Ramsgate and Haileybury College. He was a member of the Officer Training Corps. He became a coal contractor’s clerk following school, before taking employment at Hull, Blythe & Co in London until 1909. He moved to Wales to become Assistant Works Manager of Robert Byass & Co Ltd, Mansel Tin Plate Works at Aberavon, Port Talbot, Glamorgan, where his elder brother William was the manager. Rupert also became a freemason, as a member of the Roscacy Lodge No 2851 from 1908.
Rupert enlisted into 28th London Regiment (Artists’ Rifles) about 1900. He had risen to Sergeant when he was commissioned on 26th October 1909. He resigned on 24th April 1910 when he moved to Wales. He re-enlisted in the Artists’ Rifles on 5th August 1914 and was promoted Corporal and Lance Sergeant on 7th August and Sergeant on 26th September. Rupert went to France on 29th December. Rupert reverted to Private at his own request on 7th February 1915, probably as a prerequisite to undergo officer training. He was commissioned into the 4th Middlesex on 5th April, following training at the Cadet School at Blendecques, St Omer. He joined the Battalion on 12th April.
During an enemy attack down a communications trench at Hooge, Belgium on 19th/20th July, the defenders were short of bombs. Rupert climbed out of the trench in order to fire at the enemy and hit several of them, although very exposed himself. He also assisted in constructing a block, dug out a communications trench under heavy shellfire and rebuilt a town in parapet. For these actions he was gazetted for the Military Cross on 6th September 1915, and Mentioned in Despatches.
During the fighting at Hooge between 25th September and 1st October, 1915. Second Lieutenant Hallowes displayed throughout these days the greatest bravery and untiring energy, and set a magnificent example to his men during four heavy and prolonged bombardments. On more than one occasion he climbed up on the parapet, utterly regardless of danger, in order to put fresh heart into his men. He made daring reconnaissances of the German positions in our lines. When the supply of bombs was running short he went back under very heavy shell fire and brought up a fresh supply. Even after he was mortally wounded he continued to cheer those around him and to inspire them with fresh courage.
Rupert died of his wounds early on 1st October at Hooge and was buried in Sanctuary Wood. After the war his remains were moved to Bedford House Cemetery. Rupert did not marry so his will was administered by his brother William. The VC was originally sent via post to his mother on 25th February 1916, but it was presented to her formally by King George V at Buckingham Palace on 29th November.
In addition to his VC and MC, he was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal 1914-20, and Victory Medal 1914-19 with Mentioned in Despatches oak leaf. The medals were presented to the Middlesex Regiment Museum, Bruce Castle, Tottenham, by his nephew and godson, Major F C Hallowes, Welch Regiment. When the Museum closed in 1992, the medals were transferred to the National Army Museum, Chelsea. Sadly, they are not currently on display.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: NATIONAL ARMY MUSEUM, CHELSEA, LONDON.
BURIAL PLACE: BEDFORD HOUSE CEMETERY, ZILLEBEKE, BELGIUM.
Rupert Hallowes' VC on the National Army Museum website.
Cemetery Plan courtesy of Kevin Brazier
ENCLOSURE 4, PLOT XIV, ROW B, GRAVE 36
Redhill Hospital, Surrey (Picture - Iain Tidey)
His VC Memorial Stone unveiled in September 2015 (Steve Lee)
War Illustrated, 4th December 1915
Burial Record, Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Mentioned in Despatches
Haileybury College (Paul Deeprose)