IN MEMORy by Pierre Vandervelden

The visit of Commonwealth graves in Communals Cemeteries & Churchyards in Belgium & France
Private 41455
1/7th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment
Died in Italy on Saturday 3 August 1918
By his Grandson Graeme Clarke

Walter was born in Widnes the son of Robert and Isabel Clarke of 82, James Street, Widnes, his father, who predeceased him, being employed as a waterman.
Educated at West Bank School, Walter was a member of the Oakland Street Chapel and was employed as a soap works labourer at Gossages Soap Works where he was for many years a member of the works band playing the euphonium. Walter married Betsy Birkenhead Tollit on Sunday 23 August 1914 at the Hartland Weslyan Chapel, there being one child to the marriage, Walter Alfred Clarke, born on Monday 22 May 1916.
He enlisted at Widnes in March 1917, initially serving in the South Lancashire Regiment with service number 40188. Transferring to the Worcestershire Regiment he was drafted to Italy with the rank of ‘Drummer’.
At the time of his death his battalion was in support trenches at Kaberlaba. On the night of his death the sister battalion, the 1/8th Battalion, was making a raid on the enemy positions at ‘Charles House’. The enemy replied to the raid with artillery fire, some of the shells falling on the support lines. The War Diary records,
“3 August 1918 - Raid by 3 Companies of 8th Worcestershires with Zero at 2.30am. Battalion occupied its alarm positions during the raid. Captain H.G.W. Wood killed by a shell just at the end of the bombardment, 1 OR also killed and 2 Sergeants wounded.”
A letter to Walter’s widow stated,
“He was killed with the Captain by a shell that pitched in the mouth of the dug out, and also wounded two Sergeants. Perhaps it will ease you a little to know he did not suffer at all, for he was killed outright. He is buried in a very nice place, and with the Captain”.
Walter was 27 years of age. He is buried in Boscon British Cemetery in Plot 1. Row A. Grave 8. He is also commemorated on the memorial at St. Mary’s Church, West Bank.
Walter had four brothers serving, Tom who became a prisoner of war, Alec and Joe who served at Barrow in Furness and Jack who also served in the Worcestershire Regiment. All survived the war. Betsy later remarried changing her surname to Owen upon marriage to Walter Owen of Widnes.

Boscon British Cemetery in early 1920's
Photo courtesy CWGC

 © Pierre Vandervelden - Belgium