Walter William HAZEL
Rank: Private
Number: 16201
Unit: 7th Battalion King’s Shropshire Light Infantry
Date of Death: 30 September 1917
Age: 36
Cemetery: Brandhoek New Military Cemetery No.3, Ieper, Belgium

Walter was the son of John and Jane Hazel and had been born in Manchester. At some point, the family had come to live in the Reddish area of Stockport. Nothing is known of his early life. In the March quarter of 1910, he married Henrietta Trickle Wheway and they set up home at 20 Gorton Road, Reddish.

Walter enlisted into the army at Manchester and his service number suggests he was a fairly early volunteer.

The Third Battle of Ypres is better known as Passchendaele. It started on 31 July 1917 and fighting was still continuing as summer had turned to autumn. The part of the battle in which Walter is believed to have been mortally wounded was later called the Battle of Polygon Wood and started on 26 September.

The Shropshires would not form part of the leading attacking units in their sector but would hold back in support, ready to overlap and carry the attack forward. Zero hour was 5.30am and the leading units had captured their objectives by 7am. The Shropshires now moved forward and took up the attack. They captured the second line of German trenches on the western slope of Hill 40, taking 70 prisoners, 8 machine guns and a 77mm gun.  An enemy counter-attack was later repulsed. Later in the day, another counter-attack forced back the troops on both flanks of the Shropshires but they were able to hold their ground until they were relieved on the 28th

Walter is recorded as having died of wounds and is buried adjacent to where a Casualty Clearing Station (field hospital) was based. It was, almost certainly, sometime between the 26th and 28th that he was wounded.

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