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Person Details
The birth of Walter Whitchurch was probably registered as Walter Whitchurch Underwood in 1885 (A/M/J Nottingham). The CWGC record gives the information that he was the son of 'the late Mr and Mrs Whitchurch'. In 1891 Walter (35), a labourer on the railway, and his wife Sarah (37), a lace hand, were living at 2 Thoresby Street, Sneinton, with five-year old Walter. Sarah died at the age of 46 in 1899 (J/F/M Nottingham) and in 1901 her husband was living at 2 Cottage Square, Morley(?) Street, Nottingham, with his son Walter (15), an errand boy. Also in the household was Walter senior's widowed aunt, Emma Elliott (58), a lace hand. Walter senior died in 1907 (J/A/S Nottingham) aged 52. Walter married Rose Emma Cooper in 1908 (A/J/S Nottingham) and had three children: Walter Henry b. 20 November 1908 (1908 O/N/D Nottingham), Florence b. 1910 (J/A/S Nottingham) and George H. b. 1914 (A/M/J Nottingham). In 1911 Walter, a railway plate layer, and Rose were living at 1 Owen Place, Owen Street, Nottingham, with their two children, Walter Henry (2) and Florence (10 months). Their youngest child George was born three years later in 1914 but died aged 2½ years on 18 November 1916 (Dec Nottingham). The CWGC record gives Rose's address (before her remarriage) as 6 Owen Street, Gordon Road, Nottingham. Rose married George Smedley in 1922 (O/N/D Nottingham) and died aged 96 in 1986 (January Nottingham). Walter junior married Bertha Rippin in 1933 (A/M/J Nottingham) and died aged 86 in 1995 (Oct Nottingham). His sister Florence has not yet been traced after the 1911 Census.
In 1901 he was an errand boy. In 1911 he was a plate layer with a railway company.
03 Oct 1918
182620 - CWGC Website
Lance Corporal
1/5th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
Walter's army service record survives but it is badly damaged. He served on a limited engagement from23 November 1903 and transferred in November 1906. It is not clear whether he served in the Territorial Force or on a short service engagement, but he was mobilized on 5 August 1914 and served in France from 10 October 1914 until 25 May 1915. Walter then had a period of home service before joining the MEF on 14 November 1915 and the following year went directly to France arriving on 28 June 1916. He returned to the UK on 17 August 1916 and although the intervening dates on his record are unclear, he was back in France by October 1917 and in hospital from 22-29 October suffering from a gunshot wound to the scalp. Walter was killed in action on 3 October 1918 is buried in Ramicourt British Cemetery.
Personal inscription on CWGC headstone: 'God grant him eternal rest. Wife Rose' Nottingham Evening Post, ‘Roll of Honour’, 25 October 1918: ‘Whitchurch. Killed in action, October 3rd, L-Cpl W Whitchurch, Sherwood Foresters, after four years and three months’ service, late 6 Owen-street. A loving husband and father, kind and true he was to us in heart and mind. God grant him eternal rest. Deeply mourned by his sorrowing wife and children. (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Nottingham Evening Post, ‘Roll of Honour’, 25 October 1918: Whitchurch. Killed in action, October 3rd, 1918, L-Cpl W Whitchurch, over four years and three months’ service, Sherwood Foresters. He sleeps beside his comrades, in a hallowed grave unknown, but his name written in words of love in the hearts he has left at home. From Mr and Mrs Welbourn, Mr and Mrs Cooper, Mr and Mrs Tomlinson.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Nottingham Evening Post, ‘In Memoriam’, 3 October 1919: ‘Whitchurch. In loving memory of my dear husband, Lce-Corpl. W Whitchurch, killed October 3rd, 1918; also our dear little son, who died November 18th, 1916, aged 2½ years. United in the summer land. Sorrowing wife and children.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Registers of Soldiers' Effects: his widow, Rose Emma, was his sole legatee. Walter's brother-in-law, Joseph Henry Burton (his wife's brother) served in the Royal Navy from 1893 and died on 1 December 1917 when he was lost overboard and drowned while serving in HMS Tower (Plymouth Naval Memorial). He had been awarded the DSC in 1915 for gallantry. (See record on this ROH for additional information.)
Remembered on