Rank: Gunner
Number: 32938
Unit: 42nd Battery, 2nd Brigade ROYAL FIELD ARTILLERY
Date of Death: 2 June 1916
Age: 34
Cemetery: Hospital Farm Cemetery, Vlamertinge, Belgium

Walter was born in Stockport, the son of Joseph and Helen but nothing has been discovered about his early life. In the late spring of 1909 he married Charlottte Hallsworth in the South Manchester area. By the time of the Great War, the couple had four children and were living at 342 Turncroft Lane, Stockport. Walter worked in the cotton mill of the Brinnington Doubling Co, on Carrington Road.

The 2nd Brigade of the RFA was part of the pre-War professional army but Walter is not thought to have ever been a professional soldier. He enlisted at Stockport, probably some weeks after the War began in August 1914 and was assigned to it.

Each unit of the army maintained a War Diary. These are now held at the National Archives but the 2nd Brigade’s diary for June is missing. As such it is impossible to know the exact circumstances of Walter’s death but the local newspaper reported that he had been hit by shrapnel from an exploding German shell during a “fierce bombardment” and was killed instantly. The Cemetery where he is buried is some way behind the front lines to the north west of the Belgian town of Ypres. The Battery was probably being held in reserve. The heavy German bombardment will be the preliminaries to their infantry assault on the British lines to the south east of the town. The artillery would fire on either side of the intended attack area so that it could not be known where the real assault would take place. The attack was delivered at 1pm so it seems likely that Walter was killed during the morning.

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