Walter REGAN
Rank: Gunner
Number: 70960
Unit: V, 8th Heavy Trench Mortar Battery ROYAL GARRISON ARTILLERY
Date of Death: 27 April 1918
Age: 20 (possibly)
Cemetery: Red Farm Military Cemetery, Vlamertinge, Belgium

Very little is known for certain about Walter’s early life. Army records, published after the War, confirm that he was born in Stockport. The family history website, CheshireBMD, records the birth of a boy of this age in 1898 and it may be him. If it was, then the 1901 Census shows him living with his parents, Charles and Elizabeth, and three older siblings, at 26 Coronation Street, Reddish.

By the time of the Great War, he was known to be living at 28 Brunswick Street and that he left his job with the Cheshire Lines Committee railway company to enlist into the army.

The trench mortar was a new weapon, as its name suggests, invented as trench warfare developed. They were used in close support of the infantry and the weapon could lob its shell across No Man’s Land when its trajectory would make it drop almost vertically into the opposing trenches to devastating effect. They were used against machine gun posts and other strong points. There were two types of mortar. A light mortar was operated by infantry troops at Divisional level, but the heavy mortar firing a 9.45-inch shell was operated by the specialist artillerymen of the Royal Garrison Artillery (RGA).

Few day-to-day accounts remain of the activities of RGA units and it is not now possible to know the circumstances in which Walter was killed. The German attacks later designated as the Battle of the Lys had started on 9 April and were still under way as the month closed. Around Ypres, there was some fierce fighting on 27 April and it likely that German artillery was very active in supporting its own infantry.

   
           
   
     
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