[Skip to content]

Person Details
Sneinton Nottingham
Walter was the son of Mary Ann (later Donovan); name of father not yet traced. Records for Mary Ann Donovan suggest that she might have been married four times: Doyle, Atkin, Freeman and Donovan, although only a record of a marriage to Donovan has so far been found. Mary Ann had a son William Henry Doyle who was born in 1888 (birth registered A/M/J Nottingham), according to the 1911 census he was born at 10 Red Lion Street, Nottingham. Walter Arthur Atkin was born two years later in 1890 (birth registered O/N/D Nottingham), according to the 1911 census he was born on Sussex Street, Nottingham. In 1901 Mary Ann Freeman (44, b. Water Lane, Newark), a lace dresser, was living at 29 Byron Street, Sneinton, the wife of Edward Freeman (42, b. Carlton Road, Nottingham), a bobbin and carriage maker. In the household were William Doyle (13) and Walter A Atkin (11), described as Edward's stepsons, and his sons Jim Freeman (6) and John Henry Freeman (2). Assuming Mary and Edward were married (there is a record of a marriage between a Mary Ann Atkin and an Edwin (sic) Freeman in 1894, O/N/D Nottingham), he must have died sometime after the census and before the autumn of 1903 as Mary Ann married John Donovan in 1903 (marriage registered O/N/D Nottingham). However, John Donovan died some seven years later aged 56 (death registered 1910 J/F/M Nottingham). In 1911 the widowed Mary Ann Donovan (53), a lace dresser, was living at 8 Rose Yard, Bellar Gate, Nottingham. Also in the household were Walter Arthur (21), a lace dresser, James (16), a plumber and John Henry (12). All three boys were listed with the surname 'Donovan'. Mary Ann had included her eldest son, William Henry, in the household, again under the surname 'Donovan', although he was now married and living next door to his mother. Mary Ann completed the census with the information that she had had four children born alive, four of whom were still living but also that she had had one child who had died. The number of children still living confirms that she was the mother of the four boys: William (Doyle), Walter (Atkin), James (Freeman) and John (Freeman). William had married Bertha James (b. Ruddington) in 1909 and in 1911 they were living at 6 Rose Yard, Bellar Gate, Nottingham, with their first child, John George (9 months, b. 1910) who died later that year. William and Bertha had two more sons; William Henry (b. 13 February 1912) and James (b. 24 April 1913). Bertha died in 1913 and William married Norah Mozley in 1915. They had one son, Frank Walpole (b. 12 April 1917). Walter Arthur married Mabel Mary A Ferguson in 1912 (marriage registered O/N/D Nottingham) and their daughter Mabel MA was born in 1915 (birth registered J/A/S). The widowed Mabel married Thomas Storer in 1919 (marriage registered A/M/J Nottingham). Walter's half-brother, William Henry Doyle, served with the 10th Bn Royal Warwickshire Regiment (Private 27332), formerly 2431 1/7th Bn Sherwood Foresters Notts and Derby Regiment, and was killed in France on 2 November 1916 less than four months after Walter's death (Pozieres British Cemetery). Mary Ann may have married again as there is a record of a Mary A Donovan marrying a William Julian in 1923 (marriage registered O/N/D Nottingham). There is a record of a Mary A Julian, born about 1856, who died in 1929 aged 73 (death registered Dec Nottingham).
In 1911 he was a lace dresser.
15 Jul 1916
552545 - CWGC Website
Sneinton. He enlisted in Nottingham.
15th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
He was killed in action and initially was presumed killed 'on or since 15 July 1916'. However, his body was recovered and identified and he is buried in Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval (grave ref. XII.C.6).
His widow Mabel Atkin was his legatee. The Registers of Soldiers' Effects gives her name on remarriage as 'Storer'.
Remembered on