A native of Tetford Walter (Walt) was 32 years of age when he died – rather old when compared to the average age of those who perished. He was the son of John William Maughan and Susan Maughan (nee Broughton). His father was a horse dealer and supplied many horses to the war department in support of the War effort – his father was, by all accounts, quite a local character. Walt, himself, was a keen footballer playing for several local sides.
He was related by marriage to Mrs. E. A. Maughan, who was eventually to become the driving force behind the committee later established to ensure the memorial was erected.
I have several newspaper reports about Walt. In one there is recorded the letter written home from his great friend Robert Trolley, who was, sadly, later killed in action whilst serving on the western front and whose name also appears on the memorial. The news of Walt’s death was recorded by his commanding officer, Capt. H.S. Scorer and it was he who wrote to Walt’s parents informing them of Walt’s death. Sadly, he too was later killed, and he is commemorated on the war memorial at East Keal.
After enlisting at Grimsby, Walt found himself with the 5th Battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment. This was a pre-war territorial battalion, forming part of the 46th (North Midland) Division. At the outbreak of war, the division mobilised, its headquarters being first at Derby then at Luton and Bishop’s Stortford.
After less than seven months training, it was ordered to France in February 1915 earning the distinction of being the first complete Territorial Division to arrive in any theatre of war. In less than two weeks after its arrival, the division was placed in reserve for the battle of Neuve-Chapelle, but was not used. It, in fact, received its baptism of fire at Ploegstreert, later taking over the line in front of Kemmel from where it was moved to the Ypres salient. Here it settled down for nearly four months, part of which time was spent in front of the notorious Hill 60. It was during this time that Walt received his mortal wounds. The history of the 5th battalion records the battalion returning to the front on the 25th July – letters home show Walt as having been killed by a trench mortar bomb on the evening of the 29th July.