This written with my football head on:
Charles Edward Haynes played in the 1878 FA Cup final, and saw two tours of active service in South Africa.
He was born in Hampstead in Middlesex (now Greater London), on 8 July 1855, the son of a successful builder named William Haynes, and his wife, Mary Ann (formerly Spragg). By the time of the 1851 census William had retired at the age of only 48. Charles entered the Royal Military Academy, from where he passed out and was commissioned as lieutenant in the Royal Engineers on 28 January 1875.
Lieutenant Haynes was described as an unselfish centre-forward, a style which helped him get into the Royal Engineers football team which reached the FA Cup final in 1878. However, his football career was cut short before the end of the year.
On 2 December 1878, he left Chatham with the 2nd Field Company destined for South Africa and active service in the Zulu War. They landed at Cape Town on 28 December, and arrived in Durban on 4 January 1879. He was attached to the column commanded by Colonel Charles Pearson. The Regimental History states, ‘The disastrous commencement of the campaign [the massacre at Isandlwana] seriously jeopardised the safety of the column under Colonel Pearson, which, having crossed at the mouth of the Tugela, had advanced northward as far as Ekowe.’ They encountered and defeated a Zulu army at Inyezane on 22 January 1879; the same day as the battle at Isandlwana, and reached Eshowe on the following day.
The Regimental History continued ‘The garrison being cooped-up within the space occupied by their lines, and the whole of the country between Ekowe and the Tugela being in the hands of the Zulus, communication with the rear was completely cut off. Under these circumstances Lieutenant C Haynes, RE, who was at the base on the Tugela, suggested the possibility of flashing signals to the beleaguered force. His idea was somewhat scouted by the authorities; still he was permitted to make the effort. The difficulty lay in the improbability of attracting the attention of those within the fort. When all was ready, signalling was begun, and was continued with patience day by day whenever a gleam of sunshine was available. For a whole week no indication was obtained that the flashes were observed, and it was not till long atfter a less persevering man would have abandoned the trial that the first answering gleam was obtained. It was an unpleasant and anxious task watching on an exposed hill-top for so long, but the reward of success was great, and Haynes had the gratification of receiving the personal thanks of Lord Chelmsford for his ingenuity and patience.’
After the relief of Eshowe he was with the 2nd Company when it marched north to join the 1st Division under Colonel Evelyn Wood VC, for the advance on Ulundi. His War Office papers state ‘Served in the Zulu War from 4 January to 31 December 1879; in the 2nd Company, RE. He established the communications between Forts Tenedos and Eshowe by means of sun-flashing. Present at the battle of Ulundi, 4 July 1879.’ He was twice mentioned in despatches, and received the South Africa Medal with 1879 clasp.
Bechuanaland Expedition in South Africa, 1884-85
His next tour of active service was also in South Africa in 1884-85. British forces under Sir Charles Warren, a Royal Engineer acting as a Special Commissioner for the British Government, launched an expedition into Bechuanaland (Botswana since 1966) in December 1884, to enforce British power in the region after encroachments by the German-backed Ndebele from the Kalahari Desert and infiltration by the Transvaal Boer semi-independent states of Stellaland and Goshen. The Tswana Country was a vast area of grassland, savannah and desert, and among the troops who moved north from the Cape were three observation balloons, the first time the apparatus had been used on active service. Lieutenant Haynes was attached to the 7th Field Company. The Boers withdrew without bloodshed, and to avoid a problematic link between the Boers and the German lands of South-West Africa, they annexed Bechuanaland as a Protectorate on 31 March 1885. For his services he received the Cape of Good Hope General Service Medal with Bechuanaland clasp.
In 1890 he married Elizabeth Maude, the daughter of Sir Henry Edward Williams KCB. They had three sons.
He was promoted captain on 28 January 1886, and to major on 1 October 1894, lieutenant-colonel in 1901, and after becoming a colonel in 1907 he was on the Coast Defence, Eastern Command from 1908 to 1912, when he retired. He was appointed Commander of the Bath (CB) during the awards for King George V’s coronation announced on 19 June 1911.
He was recalled for service during the Great War, and on 25 November 1915 he entered the France and Flanders theatres of war, for which he received the three general service medals.
His home was at Roborough House on Furze Hill Road in Torquay, and he died at the Mount Stuart Nursing Home in Torquay, on 29 October 1935, aged 90.
His brother, Captain Alfred Ernest Haynes of the Royal Engineers, who had served in Egypt in 1882, and was on active service with him in Bechuanaland, was killed in action at Chief Chingaira Makonis Kraal on 3 August1896, while commanding 43 Company RE during the Mashonaland Rebellion in Rhodesia, and is commemorated by a brass plaque in Rochester Cathedral. His son, Charles Cecil (born in 1891), after getting wounded while serving with the Devonshire Regiment at La Bassee in 1914, became a flight-commander with 62nd Squadron, Royal Air Force; and his son, Henry John (born on 10 December 1893), became a commander in the Royal Navy, receiving the DSO and DSC during the Second World War.
His set of miniature medals were sold at auction on 2 April 2003, and his original set of medals sold at auction on 5 July 2011.