Walter, who was born at Aswardby, was 23 years of age when he died. He was the son of George and Mary Anne (nee Covill) Lancaster of Tetford and brother of Ernest Lancaster, who is also commemorated on the memorial. Walter’s (Willie) Father worked in the local brick works and he helped to construct the local Water Works . Willie was one of 8 children, his parents having married in 1883. The family established, and ran, the local bus service for the village. Descendants of the family still remain in Tetford today.
After enlisting at Skegness, Willie was drafted into the 10th battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers, another battalion raised following Kitchener’s appeal. The battalion, formed at Bury, joined the 52nd Brigade being part of the 17th (Northern) Division. This division comprised of units from the Midlands, The North of England and Dorset. Having received orders to move overseas, advance parties of the division left Southampton on the 6th July 1915, the remainder of the division beginning its embarkation for France 6 days later. It concentrated south of St. Omer before being located South West of Ypres on the 19th July. Instruction in trench warfare soon began, the division finally seeing its first action on the 9th August 1915, when the British attacked the village of Hooge on the Ypres-Menin Road.
Willie was killed in action, on the 25th August 1918 just months before the cessation of hostilities, at Les Boeufs, France in what is described as “routine trench warfare ie shellfire or sniper action”. This statement is modest, for on this day, the Lancashire Fusiliers added another VC to its long list. Acting Sgt. Colley showed great bravery and devotion to duty while holding an important position against overwhelming odds. Perhaps Willie saw this but never lived to appreciate the fact.