RANDALL, Walter Frederick

No.536, Private, Walter Frederick RANDALL
Aged 27

1st/4th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Thursday, 7th October 1915

Walter Frederick Randall was born 1888 in Brandon, son of Walter and Harriet RANDALL (née SMITH). His birth registration has not been identified, the nearest possibility is Depwade

1891 census...Aged 3, he was at London Road, Brandon with his father Walter [33] a railway signalman born Shoreditch, London; his mother Harriett [24] born Brandon and sister Florence M [1] born Brandon.

1901 census...Aged 13, he was at London Road, Brandon with his parents (father now recorded as born Tivetshall, Norfolk and mother in Plaistow, Essex); sisters Florence M, Ada [9] and Rosina [10 months]; brothers Edgar [7] and Arthur [5]. The new siblings all born in Brandon.

1911 census...Aged 23, acting railway porter, he was at London Road, Brandon with his parents (father now recorded as born London, Middlesex); brothers Edgar (greengrocer's assistant), Arthur (fishmonger), Albert Edward [8] and John William [5]; sisters Rosina May, Elizabeth [6] and Phyllis Nellie [1]. The new siblings all born in Brandon.

There is no way of telling which Walter (father or son) completed the census form, but father has now recorded three different places of birth, but from previous census it appears either Isleworth or Shoreditch are most likely.

On the "living relatives" form completed by Harriet on 30th January 1920, she recorded herself at 201 London Road, Brandon, father deceased; brothers Edgar[26], Arthur [23], Albert Edward [17] and John William [14] all living with her; sisters Florence Maud MARKS [30] in Tilbury, Ada ROLPH [29] 127 London Road, Brandon, Rosina [19], Elizabeth [15] (illegible addresses) and Phyllis Nellie [9] at 201 London Road. His father seems to have died in 1912

click here to go to the Brandon at War website for more information

He attested in Brandon on 7th April 1908 for the Territorials, giving his age as 20 years 8 months, born in Brandon and living at London Road, Brandon, employed by Robert Edwards His next of kin was his mother Harriett, at London Road. as a furrier
Many of his papers are unfortunately washed out, including the physical characteristics. Initially signing for 1 year in the Territorials (4th Norfolks) he repeatedly extended his service, the last time, aged 24, on 29th March 1912.He was mobilised on 5th August 1914. Disciplinary problems were restricted to a sever reprimand for being absent without leave ion one occasion and having reached the rank of Lance Corporal , he lost that rank through "allowing lights to be left on" and gambling on 15th February 1915.
He embarked in Liverpool on the HMT Aquitania on 29th July 1915 bound for Gallipoli. They reached Mudros on 5th August, transferred to smaller vessels and proceeded to Imbros on 9th and landed at Suvla Bay on 10th. Reaching there 9th August 1915, to be killed in action just 2 months later. He was initially buried in Norfolk Cemetery, 2-4 miles NNE of Anzac Cove. This cemetery was concentrated into 7th Field Ambulance Cemetery after the Armistice.

During late September and in October, the battalion was carrying out mundane trench duties, the main enemy being disease rather than the Turkish army. It got so bad that the battalion was at one time reduced to 16 officers and 242 men fit for duty. He was one of two members of the 4th Battalion to die that day.

There is more on the link above but from that comes the following:-

It seemed that Walter had been shot, although his wound did not outwardly appear serious at first. Sergeant Newell, a pal from their days at Brandon Railway Station, wrote home to Walter's mother, Harriet Randall, and informed her of Walter’s wound. Newell did not think the wound was too bad but then he had to write another letter to break the sad news to Harriet.
"We went out of the trenches on Tuesday night to go back about a mile to what we call our rest camp, but we have to lie in dug outs in the ground, as there are always bullets and shells flying over us. Then we go back to the trenches to improve them - that is to widen and deepen them. We go by night as well as day - three hours work, and sometimes eight hours rest. I went in charge of the gang that was in, from 11 in the morning till two in the afternoon. Then we had the order to go again at 4.30 till 8. I managed to get out of that - worse luck, for he was hit with a stray bullet, coming back from the trenches. He did not think he was hurt much, nor did the chaps that were with him. They asked him about writing home, and he gave them his belt and knife to give to me, and said I should know what to do. The next day I went and asked the stretcher bearers who carried him to the hospital how he was. They said it was nothing. He would be all right in a fortnight. I little thought he was dead, as he died early the same morning. I followed him to his grave in the dark. He had a decent grave and a proper burial service read over him, and that is more than some get out here. I have had a cross made, and put it up against his head, which I think is all I could do for so good a pal."

photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Walter Randall is buried in 7th Field Ambulance Cemetery, Gallipoli spec. mem. A:53
Special memorial indicating the exact position of his grave is unknown within this cemetery

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details