Walter Kent

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Number: 4849                           Unit: 8th
                                         London Regiment

Rank: Rifleman.           Commemorated:
                            Thiepval Memorial France

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PERSONAL DETAILS.

Walter was the second son of Mr. & Mrs. Charles Kent of Loop Gatehouse Kirkstead.  He was 21 years old when he was killed. He enlisted during December 1915.  Prior to enlistment he was in the grocery business of Messrs. Hundleby and Co of Martin Dales and also acted as the local postman in the mornings.

SERVICE DETAILS.

On enlistment, we find Walter being posted to the 8th (City of London) Battalion The London Regiment. A pre-war Territorial battalion, it was nicknamed The Post Office Rifles.  The War Office sanctioned the formation of a rifle corps, at the General Post Office in London, in 1868.  Designated the 49th Middlesex Rifle Volunteer Corps, it was recruited from the minor staff of the Post Office.  The battalion was re-numbered to 24th in 1880 and the following year became part of the Rifle Brigade.  In 1882, a scheme was approved for the formation of an Army Postal Service, from within the 24th.  As such, the battalion saw service as part of the expeditionary force in Egypt (1882) and the Boer War.  In 1908 the 24th became the 8th (City of London) Battalion, The London Regiment.  Forming part of 140 Brigade, the Post Office Rifles arrived at the Western front on the 10th September 1916, to relieve the 1st Division.  The place was High Wood.  On Friday the 15th September, the Post Office Rifles was one of two battalions engaged in attacking the eastern side of High Wood.  The plan was for the Post Office Rifles to sweep through the Wood, initially secured by the 7th Londons.  Their objective would be Starfish Line, followed by the 6th Londons, who would capture the final objective.  They would have the assistance of the new wonder weapon - the Tank.  The attacking path of the Post Office Rifles lay half in and half out of the Wood.  They were well trained - their CO, Major W.J. Whitehead had spent many hours preparing a model of the ground.  However, on leaving the British front line positions at 6.20 am, The Post Office Rifles were met by heavy machine gun fire.  It soon became apparent that the 7th Londons had not taken High Wood’s eastern edge and the Post Office Rifles began to suffer many casualties.   The battalion became bogged down, High Wood finally falling to the British at 1.00pm in the afternoon.  It was during this fighting that Walter fell.  He had been at the front a mere 5 days.

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