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Person Details
02 Aug 1897
Cotgrave Nottinghamshire
Walter was born in 1897 to George Henstock and Mary Smith. George worked variously as a Groom, Bricklayer’s Labourer, Carrier and Cottager. George and Mary lived at 11, Gripps Cottages and between 1891 and 1912 had 13 children.
Walter was employed as a farm ploughboy in Cotgrave when he was 13. By the time he was 19 he had moved to Jacksdale where he lived in Back Lane with his sister Mabel and her husband George. He enlisted during his time in Jacksdale and described his employment as ‘Lettering Ovens’ for a firm in Pinxton, Nottinghamshire.
17 May 1920
Lincolnshire Regiment
He enilsted 23/2/1916 with 2/6th Bn South Sherwood Regiment and on 9/1/1920 with the Lincolns. On 23rd February 1916 Walter began his Army Service as a conscript and went immediately to the Army Reserve. After initial training he was mobilised in May and was posted to 2/6 Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment on the 25th May. 2/6 Battalion was a Second Line unit predominantly used for Home Defence. On the 25th February, 1917, he was posted to France where he fought with the 59th (2nd North Midland) Division. One year later on 21st March, 1918 he was reported missing in action during the battle of Saint Quentin, becoming a Prisoner of War until his release and repatriation on the 30th November, 1918. He served on in the Reserve until February 1920 when he re-enlisted into the Lincolnshire Regiment as a regular Soldier, but his career was short-lived as he died in the 4th Northern General Hospital, Lincoln, on the 17th May, 1920 from Acute Pulmonary Tuberculosis, possibly as a result of his lack of nutrition whilst a Prisoner of War. His body was returned to his home town of Cotgrave, where he was buried at All Saints Church.
Walter was not married but had a girlfriend to whom he intended to propose. He had bought the ring and on deployment left it with his sister Bessie for safekeeping. Walter never did get engaged and the ring was handed down through Walter’s family. Ethel May, Walter’s sister-in-law, moved to Cotgrave in 1924 where in 1939 she married Cyril, one of Walter’s brothers. Cyril died in 1974, leaving Ethel a widow. In 1975 she married Ted another of Walter’s brothers who was himself a widower. Ted died in 1982 but Ethel survived him and up to 2014 at the age of 96 lived in Cotgrave. Walter’s grave in All Saints church cemetery was originally marked with a wooden cross showing his name, Regiment and number. Later the cross was replaced with a Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone which remains a lasting memory to Walter. Many thanks to John Ludlum for researching and writing this page.
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