Walter Smithwas born in 1891 in Bradford the son of Thomas and Mary Alice, nee Fishwick.Thomas had been married before and had two daughters by his first wife, Louisa.Before her marriage to Thomas, Mary Alice Fishwick had a history of being imprisoned for being drunk and disorderly. After her marriage to Thomas she and her daughter Annie Fishwick went to live with Thomas and his family at 19 Planetrees Road where Walter were born.By 1901 the family were living at 15 Planetrees Road. Upon his enlistment Walter was a clerk at the offices of the Aire and Calder Navigation Company on Canal Road.
Walter enlisted in September 1914 as Private 16/451 in the 16th Battalion of the Prince of Wales Own (West Yorkshire Regiment). On the 1st of May 1915 on home leave from Raikswood Camp at Skipton Walter married Beatrice Drake Heron at St Luke’s Church, Eccleshill. Walter was 23 years of age and described himself as a private in the ranks. Beatrice was 23 years of age living at 129 Victoria Terrace, Eccleshill and the daughter of John Heron deceased, a tapster. Their daughter Beatrice was born later that year.
On the 17th December 1915 his regiment set sail for Alexandria in Egypt arriving on the 22nd. In March 1916 they left Port Said aboard HMT Briton bound for Marseilles in France. They travelled by train to Pont Remy, a few miles south east of Abbeville and marched to Bertrancourt arriving on 29 March 1916 in readiness for the forthcoming battle of the Somme. His unit were in the front line and went over the top on the 1st July 1916 on the first day of the battle. He wrote home from hospital to say that he had been wounded in the
right shoulder but then died a week later on the 9th of July from his wounds. He was 25 years of age. He is buried in the Le Treport Military Cemetery, Dieppe. Le Treport was an important hospital centre with several hospitals containing nearly 10,000 beds.His widow Beatrice received his effects of £3.0.5d on the 13th November 1916 and a War Gratuity of £8.0.0d on the 18th September 1919. A year after his death Beatrice placed a Memorial in the Bradford Argus as follows: “It may be a soldier’s honour to die at his country’s call but it is hard to remember that when I lost my one and all.”
Researched and written by Jean Britteon, to whom many thanks