|Date of Birth
|January 13, 1891
|Place of Birth
|Next of Kin
|William Hallam (father), Armstrong, British Columbia
|Trade / Calling
|Church of England
|Link to Service Record
|3rd Canadian Divisional Signal Company
|Canadian Expeditionary Force
|Enlisted / Conscripted
|Date of Enlistment
|December 8, 1914
|Age at Enlistment
|Theatre of Service
|Prisoner of War
|Date of Death
|Age at Death
|Armstrong Cemetery, Armstrong, British Columbia
Corporal Charles Hallam enlisted in Victoria, British Columbia in December 1914. He served in France and Belgium for more than three years and returned to Canada in March 1919.
Charles was the son of William Hallam and Cecillia McNabb of Armstrong, British Columbia. Cecillia was born in Ontario to Scottish immigrant parents. William was born in England and immigrated to Canada in the late 1880s. Cecillia had at least ten children, the first few with her first husband James Huggins and the rest with William. Charles was born on 13 January 1891, with his birth registered in Keewatin, Ontario. His father’s occupation at the time was engineer. Not long after he was born his family moved to British Columbia and settled in the Armstrong area in the Okanagan Valley. The next child was born there in 1892.
When the 1901 census was taken William was listed as a farmer and eight children were still at home, including Charles. In 1911 Charles was 20 and working as a labourer on a farm. The war started in August 1914 and he enlisted four months later, when volunteers were being recruited for a third overseas contingent. He signed up on 8 December at Willows Camp in Victoria, British Columbia, joining the 2nd Regiment, Canadian Mounted Rifles. He said he was a farmer and he had served for three years with a militia unit, the BC Horse.
Charles’ unit embarked for the UK on 12 June 1915, sailing from Montreal on the SS Megantic and arriving in England about nine days later. After three months of further training they were sent to France on 22 September and became part of the 8th Brigade in the new 3rd Canadian Division. The Canadians spent the winter of 1915-16 in Belgium, holding a section of the front line between Ploegsteert Wood and St. Eloi. On 6 February 1916 Charles was transferred to the 3rd Canadian Divisional Signal Company, Canadian Engineers, and that same month he was promoted to Corporal. He served with the signal company for the next three years.
In December 1917 Charles had two weeks leave in the UK then two weeks again in December 1918. By then the Armistice had ended hostilities on the Western Front and he returned to England in February 1919. A month later he sailed for Canada on the SS Cedric, arriving in Halifax on 27 March. He was discharged on demobilization on 1 April in Vancouver. His older brother William Hallam had enlisted in 1917. He served in Great Britain with the Canadian Forestry Corps and returned home about three weeks before Charles.
When the 1921 census was taken Charles was living at home in the Armstrong area and working as a farmer. He was married in the RM of North Cypress, Manitoba on 9 December 1924. His wife, Sarah Rae Craig, was a teacher who was born in 1897 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her father, George Craig, was from Scotland and her mother, Annie McRae, was born in Ontario. Charles and Sarah (Sadie) took up farming in Armstrong and they had five children: Eric (1926), Ian (1927) , Ruth (1928) , Jean and Hugh (1931). Sadly, Ian died at age seven and he’s buried in Armstrong Cemetery. Also buried there are Charles’ parents and other family members.
In the late 1930s Charles and Sadie moved to Chilliwack. Their son Eric served with the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War then went on to have a long career as a police officer, starting with the BC Provincial Police. Charles and Eric were both members of Canadian Legion Branch No. 4 in Chilliwack. As a 50-year Legion member Charles received his golden membership medal in 1975. He had retired from farming when he was about sixty then worked as a caretaker and security guard.
Charles passed away in Shaughnessy Veterans Hospital in Vancouver on 2 August 1987, at age 96. Sadie died in Burnaby General Hospital on 19 October 1982, at age 85. They were survived by their children Eric, Ruth, Jean and Hugh. Ruth became a nurse and she passed away in Calgary in 2013. Eric was an active member of the BC Provincial Police Veterans’ Association. He died in 2015, at age 88.
By Becky Johnson
Photos courtesy of Hallam public family tree on ancestry.com.