Unit: 8th Bedfordshire
Commemorated: Estaples Military Cemetery, online France
Walter, ed who was born at Stoke-on-Trent, was 26 years of age when he died. He was the son of Frederick Walter and Gertrude Trevor who, after a short while living in West Street Horncastle, moved to Tetford to become the local postmaster. Walter, in fact, lived with his grandparents in Shropshire until he was about 13/14 years of age, after which he came to join his parents in Tetford. Walter did not stay in the village long. He left at about aged 16 and became employed at Perkins Peterborough before finally enlisting.
After enlisting at Huntingdon, Walter found himself drafted into the 8th Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment, a Kitchener Battalion. The Regiment, formed at Bedford was part of the 71st Brigade, which was originally part of the 24th Division. On the 11th October 1915, 71st Brigade was exchanged for the 17th Brigade of the 6th Division. This move was in consequence of the new scheme for the merging of Regular Army battalions into New Army Divisions. Being one of the original regular army divisions, the 6th Division had been overseas since the outbreak of War. However, having only reached France in late 1915, the 71st Brigade were not afforded the usual months of trench warfare training and gradual initiation into active service conditions.
The strategy of the Allies for 1917 was decided at the close of the previous year at a conference at Chantilly convened by the French. Part of this was the battle of Passchendaele (3rd Ypres) covering the period of 31st July – November 1917. After suffering some 300,000 casualties for a gain of about 5 miles, the offensive was halted. Haig, however, continued to pressure the Germans for the period 20th November – 3rd December which led to the famous battle of Cambria and the German counter attacks that followed. It is during this period we find Walter’s battalion engaged in actions around Cambria and an extract from the battalion War Diary shows, on the 23rd and 24th November, the battalion suffered 1 death with 5 wounded. Walter was probably one of the 5 wounded soldiers – he died on the 28th November from the wounds he had previously received.