Walter NELSON
Rank: Private
Number: 109207
Unit: 15th Battalion SHERWOOD FORESTERS
Date of Death: 14 October 1918
Age: 19
Cemetery: Dadizeele New British Cemetery, Belgium

Walter and his older sister, Minnie, were born in the Gorton area of Manchester. Their parents were John, a house painter, and Sarah. In 1901, the family was living at 105 Margaret Street, Gorton but moved a little while after to 1 Morton Terrace, Woodley. The family worshipped at the local Primitive Methodist Church and Walter had furthered his education by attending the Church's Sunday School. As a boy, he had been a keen member of the 2nd Woodley Scouts. When he left school, he went to work for Linnet Mill Ltd at Gee Cross, where he became a cotton spinner.  

Walter will have been conscripted into the army after he became 18. He was assigned to the 2/1st Battalion, Shropshire Yeomanry and served in Ireland for a while at the beginning of 1918. He had trained as a signaller with the Yeomanry and, on 29 March - Good Friday - he was transferred to the Sherwoods. In the previous days, the Germans had launched a major offensive in France. Many British troops were dead; many more were wounded or prisoner. The Army was in retreat and there was a desperate need for men to replace the casualties. There was no time for Walter to have any home leave before going overseas.

Walter and his mates had been in action at the end of September and had then spent a few days at a reserve camp. On the 14th, they assembled ready for another assault on the now retreating Germans. In the vanguard of the attack would be two battalions of the Cheshire Regiment. They advanced at dawn and secured the first objective by 7.15. The Sherwoods and other battalions now leap-frogged them to keep up the pressure on the Germans. The Battalion's War Diary has scant information recording only "Advanced with little opposition in dense mist. Resistance stronger near Cabin Copse." Walter's mate, a Corporal Brazier, later wrote to his widow saying he had been killed by a shell during the advance.

   
           
   
     
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