Image from 1916 Suffolk Chronicle & Mercury newspaper
Photographs courtesy of David Walker
Born: 1894, Ipswich.
Baptised: 10th June 1894, St. Nicholas’s Church, Ipswich.
Died: 15th July 1916; age: 22; KiA.
Employed: Messrs. Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies, Orwell Works, Ipswich.
Enlistment Location: Ipswich.
Date of Entry Therein: 8th November 1914.
Rank: Company Sergeant Major.
Service number: 1140
Regiment: Suffolk Regiment, 4th Battalion, ‘A’ Coy.
Medals Awarded: Victory, British War & 1914 Star + two Clasps & Military Medal – London Gazette of 19th February 1917 + Distinguished Conduct Medal – For conspicuous and consistent gallantry and good work. He has always set a fine example of cool bravery. London Gazette 20th June 1916.
Gazette Issue 29608. D.C.M. approve the reward for Distinguished Service in the Field, dated 03/06/1916. Gazette page 5585.
21/06/1916 For conspicuous and consistent gallantry and good work. He has always set a fine example of cool bravery. Gazette page 6157.
Pas de Calais,
Relatives Notified & Address: Son of Henry James & Rose Elizabeth Walker, of 210, Cavendish Street, Ipswich.
1901 51, Croft Street, Ipswich.
Walter was 7 years old and living with his parents & brothers.
Henry James Walker, 40, a Boiler Maker – Railway, born Charlton, Kent.
Rose Elizabeth Walker (nee Cole), 36, born Ipswich.
Henry P. Walker, 12, born Ipswich.
William James Walker, 10, born Ipswich.
Bertie Cyril Walker, 5, born Ipswich.
Percy John Walker, 1, born Ipswich.
1911 Rose Villa, 210, Cavendish Street, Ipswich.
Walter was 17 years old, an Engineers Apprentice – Foundry. He was living with his parents & brothers.
Henry, 50, a Boiler Maker – Iron Foundry.
William, 21, a Boiler Maker’s Labourer – Iron Foundry.
Bertie, 15, an Engineers Apprentice – Iron Foundry.
Soldiers’ Effects to Henry J. Walker – father.
Walter is also remembered on the war memorial at St. Clement’s Congregational Church, Ipswich, and on the Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies, Orwell Works, war memorial. Now sited at The Museum of East Anglian Life, Stowmarket, Suffolk. and at Holy Trinity Church War Memorial, Ipswich. Northgate High School Memorial. Formerly Ipswich Grammar School for Boys.
The 1914-18 Star, Victory Medal and Memorial Plaque with note from George V, along with Suffolk Regiment Badge. All handed to Percy Walker, Walter’s brother and next of kin.
In 1916, Walter’s brother William James Walker was presented with the Distinguished Conduct Medal, awarded 16th January 1916. The citation reads: “T.2SR/02029 Company Quartermaster-Serjeant W. J. Walker, Army Service Corps – London Gazette 10th March 1916.
For conspicuous gallantry and determination on many nights, organising the services of cars, and collecting wounded, frequently under fire.”
William had enlisted in the Army Service Corps at the beginning of the war. He married Lily Wright in 1915, Ipswich, they made their home at 39, Pheonix Road, Ipswich.
1916 Suffolk Chronicle and Mercury newspaper.
Company-Quartermaster-Sergt.-Major Walker, who was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal, for courageous devotion to duty in the second battle of Ypres, was on Monday morning presented with the decoration by Brigadier-General Coventry Williams, C.B., on the Portman Road Ground, Ipswich.
Prior to pinning the medal on, General Williams expressed the pleasure he had in making the presentation. He hoped that some of those around would have a chance of gaining a similar decoration. He then read the circumstances under which Sergt. Walker meritorious service was rendered:-“For conspicuous gallantry and determination on many nights organising the service of cars and collecting wounded, frequently under fire.”The General added that he was sure that it was a proud moment in Sergt. Walker’s life when he was to receive the decoration for what he had so bravely done. General Williams then fixed a medal on Sergt. Walker’s tunic, and shock hands, saying at the same time, “I congratulate you.” In a few moments chat he asked the sergeant what service he had seen, and expressed the hope that before many months were gone he would receive a bar.
C.-Q.-S.-M. Walker, whose home is at 39, Phoenix Road, Ipswich, enlisted in August, 1914, and went to France in the November following. A younger brother has already fallen, a posthumous D.C.M. having been sent to his father, and another brother is a sergeant in the R.F.A.
Our photograph shows (1) General Williams pinning on the medal, and (2) shaking hands with the recipient.
Extra help courtesy of Andy Pritchatt.
The Somme offensive day 15
The battle of the Bazentin Ridge and the attack on High Wood.
The 4th Battalion the Suffolk’s 15th July 1916 regimental records:
While the 4th Battalion was moving through Becordel to the position between Fricourt and Mametz where they bivouacked during the night of July 14th-15th, the battle of the Bazentin Ridge was raging in all its fury. They were not destined, however, to remain long thus upon the fringe of the hostilities, and at dawn went out under the command of Major H.C.Copeman D.S.O on support the 1st Middlesex Regiment in an attack on Switch trench. After severe fighting, a line immediately in front of the Village of Bazentin-le-Petit was taken up and held for the remainder of the day. The casualties in the battalion, exceeding two hundred.
This is the highest death rate of the war for Ipswich. 17 men.
Suffolk Regiment, 4th Battalion, ‘A’ Coy.