Although military records show Walter's place of birth to be Perth in Scotland, the 1901 Census records it as Heaton Norris. The Census also notes that he was the aged 15 and working as a "cotton doffer". A "doffer" was the young man who would remove full bobbins from the spinning machine and replace them with empty ones. His father, also called Walter, was then aged 40 and was working as a Tailor Instructor. There is no mention of his mother, who may well have died. Walter had two sisters - Berriss, a chocolate maker and Jessie, 9. He also had two younger brothers - David, 11 and John (Jack), 13. They would also serve in France during the war.
Between July and September 1908, Walter married Annie Smith. Only a few months later, between January and March 1909, Jessie Ann was born. The family lived at 50 Mellor street, Portwood. Walter worked at India Mill until he enlisted in the army.
He originally joined the 3/6th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment and was allocated a service of 3973. This number is consistent with him enlisting in, approximately, mid-1915. His final number (above) was allocated at the beginning of 1917 and confirms he will still have been with the 6th Territorials at the time and must have transferred to the 13th Battalion not long before he died.
Walter died of wounds received in battle. The matron at the hospital wrote to Annie "When your husband came into hospital, he was very bad and we had little hope of saving his leg. The surgeons found he was too weak to take his leg off, so they did their best to save him without this, but they could do nothing. He was very brave and plucky through it all and he had all he needed and best of care. I am enclosing a letter he wrote to you just soon after he came into the hospital. He was only with us for five days. I wish very much we had been able to send him back to you."
Although the matron writes that Walter was with them for five days (suggesting he was injured on 9 August), it is more likely that he was wounded on the 10th during the attack described here.