Graham Leslie McCallum

The tree of happiness flowers and fruits most abundantly for the creative man


My grandfather Alexander Ernest McCallum was seriously wounded at Delville Wood while serving with the 1st South African Infantry, 9th Scottish Division, World War 1. While researching his participation, I came across the name of another South African with the same surname and who had perished at Delville Wood. His name was Cyril Fidelis McCallum.

At first I thought he might be related to my grandfather, but I later discovered that Cyril was a descendant of a separate branch of McCallum’s (Eastern Cape McCallum’s) who settled in South Africa in the 1800′s. Several years ago I got to know David Malcolm McCallum, a fellow South African who was researching this branch of the McCallum family in South Africa. David’s Grandfather, Vincent Mannix McCallum, was  Cyril’s brother. Cyril had 4 brothers, all who served in World War 1. All returned, bar Cyril who was killed in action on the 15th of July 1916, aged 17 years and 11 months. Cyril’s body was never found, and his remains lie lost, somewhere on the battlefield. His memorial is the very wood itself.

It is probable  that my Grandfather Alexander and Cyril knew each other, if not personally, then by having a shared surname. Alexander came back; Cyril did not.

Today, the 28th of July 2014 – on the 100th anniversary of the commencement of the 1st World War, I want to draw attention to Cyril Fidelis McCallum, who was never able to live out his life, having made the ultimate sacrifice. Fortunately, an old and well worn studio photograph of Cyril survives. He stands proudly, fresh-faced, dressed in his 4th South African Infantry, Transvaal Scottish kilt, sporran and tam-o-shanter. Cyril’s mother had named him after Saints Cyril and Fidelis. His second name, meaning faithful, is most appropriate.


Cyril Fidelis McCallum. Born 16 August 1898 at Alice, Cape of Good Hope, South Africa. Parents – Alexander Frederick McCallum and his mother, Matilda McCallum nee’ Pope. Occupation – Draper. Private 3918, 4th South African Infantry, A Company, 9th Scottish Division. Died 15th July 1916 aged 17 years and 11 months, Missing in action. Memorial – Thiepval, pier and face 4C. Siblings – Norman Sebastian McCallum/ May Dympna Ann McCallum (Stirk)/ Gordon Alexander Hugh McCallum/ Eileen Emily Bernardine McCallum (Sinclair)/ Vincent Mannix McCallum/ Kevin Angus Stanislaus McCallum/ Ismay Lorna Reginald McCallum/ Joyce Veronica Gonzalva McCallum (White).

cyril fidelis mccallum (3)

Cyril Fidelis McCallum c


Casualty Form documenting that Cyril Fidelis McCallum is listed as missing and Accepted as Dead.


Vincent Mannix McCallum, WW1

Cyril’s brother Vincent Mannix McCallum served in World War 2 as well.


  1. Mel Cross
    January 9, 2016

    I have started researching this McCallum family so was fascinated and thrilled to find all this information. I am actually researching Matilda Pope who married Alexander Frederick McCallum and the above soldiers are their children. Are there any living descendants out there who would contact me please? I am really wanting information of Matilda’s step father
    Thanks very much
    Mel Cross.

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