Walter is not remembered on the war memorial at Christchurch Park.

Images courtesy of Michael Fortune.

Born: 25th July 1880, 9, Plough Street, St. Clement’s, Ipswich.

Died: 1st September 1914; age: 34; KiA at Nery.

Residence: Woolwich.

Occupation: Packer.

Enlistment Location: London; Date: 22nd December 1898.

Date of Entry Therein: 15th August 1914.


Rank: Paymaster Sergeant: Service Number: 32096.

Regiment: Royal Horse Artillery, ‘L’ Battery.


Medals Awarded: Victory, British War & 1914 Star.

Grave Reference:


Nery Communal Cemetery,





Note: Guard of honour lined up for service of remembrance. (Grandfather’s grave in back row on the right. The 3 stones at the back mark the actual graves, the rest commemorate the others who fell. The battery was disbanded after the battle as so many




Nery Battalion.



1881   ‘Alexandra Court’ St. Matthew’s, Ipswich.


Walter was 8 months old and living with his parents.

Thomas Fortune, 29, a Gunner – Royal Artillery, born Ireland.

Lavinia Ann Fortune (nee Dalby), 20, born Aldringham, Suffolk.


1891   Woolwich Arsenal, London.


Walter was 10 years old and living with his parents & siblings.

Thomas, 40, a Gunner – Royal Artillery.

Lavinia, 30.

John Patrick Fortune, 8, born Ipswich.

Patrick Henry Thomas Fortune, 6, born Woolwich.

Edward Albert Victor Fortune, 4, born Aldershot, Hampshire.

Ellen Fortune, 2, born Woolwich.


1911   47, St. John’s Wood Terrace, London.


Walter was 30 years old, a Corporal for the Royal Horse Artillery. He was married and Head of the Household.

Rosa, 29.

Walter, 1 year & 1 month.


Walter’s mother, Lavinia died November 1893, Woolwich, London.


On the 3rd February 1906, at St. Margaret’s Church, Plumstead, Kent, 25 year old, Walter, a Bombardier for the Royal Horse Artillery, married 29 year old, Rosa Body, born October 1876, Plumstead – daughter of John Body, a metal planner for the Royal Laboratory, and Sarah Lydia Body (nee Hayes), of 23, Bastion Road, Plumstead.

Rosa and Walter had two sons:

Walter Edward Fortune, born February 1910, St. John’s Wood, London.

Leslie William Fortune, born March 1913, Woolwich, London.


Soldiers’ Effects to Rosa Fortune – widow.

A fellow Ipswich man and L Battery survivor  THOMAS EDWARD STEVENS.


Friday November 6th 1914




Two Lewes men have honoured of belonging to “L” Battery, Royal Horse Artillery, the Battery which covered itself with such glory at the Battle of Mons. Driver Jesse Garrett of De Montfort Road, who returned home wounded, has already related is experience columns and now we are able to give a few particulars concerning the part played by Sgt Thomas Edward Stevens, son of Mr and Mrs T Stevens Abinger-place, who has over 14 years’ service to his credit.

His battery left Aldershot the scene of operation Friday August 15th, spent the next day in the Channel, and landed at Boulogne the following morning. On the Tuesday they settled down for a two days train journey and then by the way of a change they had two days on the road going into bullets at night.

They were called into action the following Monday morning to quote Sergeant Stevens “got rather too hot for them” they were brought out of action after firing 200 rounds. A walk along the road to the place of safety enabled man and horse to be fed. While the artillery was resting, up came a motorcycle dispatch rider, and orders were received to proceed to a certain village and join up with the second cavalry Brigade, to cover the retirement of the 5th Division.

The artillery came into action undercover and fired between 400 and 500 rounds. The order to retire was subsequently given and the movement was carried out in sections. Owing to the excellent work of “L” Battery the Second Cavalry Brigade of the 5th Division was able to retire successfully and the officer in charge took the first opportunity of expressing his appreciation.

From then till 1st September our men were particularly fighting a daily rear guard action with very little rest but they had plenty to eat and were well looked after. On the 1st September they were surprised at daybreak and it was during the ensuing engagement but “L” Battery did so magnificently. For 10 days Sgt Stevens had been doing the work of the Q.M.S who was wounded, previous to “L” Battery coming into action. He had received orders to move off with the baggage wagons and joined up with the convoy.

The gallant stand by the artillery men is still fresh in our memories but the losses were heavy and it became necessary for “L” battery to return home to refit.

They embarked at a French port and arrived in Woolwich about 3 weeks ago Sergeant Stevens spent last weekend with his parents, and left Lewes on Monday. While at the base Sergeant Stevens met Gunner George Grayson Royal Horse Artillery of Lewes and a chat about the Old Town was much appreciated by both of them.

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