Ernest Wrigley and Lydia Bailey had married in a civil ceremony registered at Stockport in 1883, but lived originally in Gee Cross, near Hyde. Walter and his twin Maurice (or Morris) were born there in 1886. By the time of the 1901 Census, the family had moved to Stockport and was living at 391 Hempshaw Lane. Ernest earned his living as a felt hat finisher working in one of the local factories.
In 1911, Walter married, also in a civil ceremony at Stockport. His wife was Annis Linney.
Walter’s service number confirms he was not an early volunteer for the army and probably joined, as a conscript, in 1916. 320th Siege Battery was formed towards the end of that year and he will probably have been an original member. It went overseas, first to Italy, in April 1917. The Siege Batteries fired the most powerful weapons in the British Army and 320th was equipped with four 6-inch howitzers. The guns could fire their 54kg shells over 10 kilometres. They were used to batter enemy defences and were situated some considerable way behind the front line.
Few records remain of the day-to-day activities of these units and it is not known when Walter and his comrades were transferred to Greece where they faced the Bulgarian army. An Armistice was signed with them at the end of September 1918 and Walter’s death some two months later suggests it was through natural causes. Worldwide, many millions died in the autumn of 1918 when there was a virulent pandemic of influenza known as “Spanish Flu”.
When the War Graves Commission collated its casualty information in the early 1920s, Mr & Mrs Wrigley were living at 172 Hall Street, Stockport, and they are listed by the Commission as his close family. It is not known what became of Annis.