Walter was born in Carlisle, the son of Thomas and Mary Jane. The family had, however, lived in Stockport for many years (in the 1920s, Mr & Mrs Whittey were known to be at 9 Emperor Street). Walter had married his fiancée, Martha Simcock, in 1899 at St Mary's Church in the town centre and, over the years, they would have seven children together. He worked as a labourer for a local slater.
When War was declared in August 1914, Walter was amongst the first to enlist, joining the newly formed 8th Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment the same month. He trained with them but, in June 1915, whilst still in the UK, was transferred to the Borderers.
Late in the month, the Battalion embarked form Avonmouth to go into action at Gallipoli. They landed on the 15/16 of July but Walter was not amongst them. He was part of one of two small groups of men who had been temporarily left at Malta and the Greek island of Lemnos but he arrived a few days later on the 19th.
Walter was not killed outright but died some time after being badly wounded in action. There is no indication when this might have been but must have been within the few days prior to death otherwise he would have been evacuated away from the Peninsula to hospital. Many of the burial locations were lost after the evacuation and the men, like Walter, have no known grave but are remembered on the nearby Helles Memorial to the Missing. It is possible, however, that Walter was being evacuated but died on a hospital transport ship and was buried at sea - such men are also commemorated on the Memorial.