Rank: Private
Number: 27270
Unit: 8th Battalion CHESHIRE REGIMENT
Date of Death: 23 December 1917
Age: 33
Cemetery: Basra Memorial, Iraq

Walter was born in Stockport and the 1901 Census records a young man of this name, then aged 17, working as a doubler in a cotton mill. He enlisted into the army between May and July 1915. He joined up in Nelson, Lancashire and was probably working at a mill in the town.

Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) was part of the Turkish Ottoman empire and an ally of Germany. Then as now, Britain relied heavily on oil from the area. When war broke out in August 1914, British troops were quickly sent to the area to protect its interests by occupying the oilfields and pipeline near Basra. 

Conditions for the men were appalling. Extremes of temperature (120 degrees F was common); arid desert and regular flooding; flies, mosquitoes and other vermin: all led to very high levels of sickness and death through disease. Under these conditions, units fell short of officers and men, and all too often the reinforcements were half-trained and ill-equipped. Medical arrangements were quite shocking, with wounded men spending up to two weeks on boats before reaching any kind of hospital.

Military records show that Walter "died" - a designation usually meaning from natural causes as opposed to combat. He has no known grave, suggesting he may have died en-route to hospital. He would have been buried nearby but the location of many of these small, perhaps isolated, burials could not be found after the War

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