Walter's family home was at 40 Canal Street, Stockport, where he had lived with his parents. He worked at Morehouse Ltd, Chestergate.
He is reported to have enlisted, at Chester, on 24 March 1916. While he was in training (and just six weeks before he was killed), he married Gladys, 33 Bramwell Street. Walter's service number is consistent with his original enlistment being into the local Territorial Battalion - the 6th Cheshires.
It would be usual for a soldier transferring between the 6th and 11th Battalions to be allocated a new service number at the time and the fact that this has not happened with Walter suggests it was only intended as a temporary attachment. Research undertaken for this project indicates that a batch of newly trained soldiers, with service numbers very close to Walter's, had arrived in France in July 1916. Most went, as planned, to the 6th Cheshires, then in rest billets, 70 miles north of the Somme battlefield. Others were reassigned to units of the South Lancashire and Royal Lancaster Regiments and, it would seem, also to the 11th Cheshires.
On 22 July, Walter went into the trenches for probably the first and last time. The following is the official report on the tour, which was in trenches opposite Beaumont-Hamel, in the heart of the Somme battlefield:-
"This line was very quiet.....A trench "Hunter Trench" is being dug about 200 yards in front of our present front line and is daily damaged by shells and trench mortars of the Bosch who takes a particular delight in scattering shells all over No Man's Land during the night. The trenches we took over though badly knocked about in places were a great improvement on the Thiepval ditches or the Bosch lines at Ovillers and should assist the Battalion in finding its feet again. On the night of 29/30 the working party in the Sunken Road or Hunters trench was badly cut up by trench mortars and shells.
The following year, Walter's older brother, Alfred, would die from wounds he'd received in action.