TALBOT, Walter

No.12638, Private, Walter TALBOT
Aged 21

"D" Coy.,7th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Wednesday, 13th October 1915

Walter Talbot CARTER was born in Brandon (Thetford Q2-1894 4B:397), son of Eliza Martha CARTER.
His mother married Walter TALBOT in Q3-1894.

1901 census...Aged 6, he was at Lode Cottage, Brandon with his father Walter TALBOT [26] a furrier's labourer; his mother Eliza [28]; sisters Mary [4] and Gladys [2]. They were all born in Brandon.

1911 census...Aged 16, like his father, he was a furrier's labourer, living at Oak Terrace, London Road, Brandon with his parents, sister Gladys and brother Harry [9] born Brandon.

On the "living relatives" Army form completed by his mother on 13th December 1919 showed the family to be his parents at 176 London Road, Brandon, brother Harry [18] at the Royal Engineers Depot at Chatham, sister Mary Eliza [23] a cook at the Suffolk Regiment Depot in Bury St Edmunds and sister Gladys Martha CLAXTON living in Santon Downham.

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

He attested in Norwich on 30th August 1914 for the Norfolk Regiment. He was 20 years 124 days old, a labourer born and living in Brandon, his father was publican at the Duke of Wellington, 176 London Road. He had brown eyes and hair, and chest of 33.5" to 35.5 " (85.1 to 90.2 cm), Church of England (the rest of the page is missing).
He was posted to the 7th Battalion. On 7th February 1915 at Littlestone he was awarded 3 days confined to barracks for "improper conduct on Church parade (he was caught smoking). On 30th May 1915 they entrained for Folkestone on HMT "Invicta", arriving Boulogne the next day and going by train to St Omer. His records only show punishment of 6 days fatigues for being 1 hour late on parade on 26th September 1915 before recording his death in action on 13th October 1915

His entry in the "Register of Soldiers Effects" incorrectly shows him in the Suffolk Regiment

The 7th Norfolks took over the line from the Coldstream Guards in front of the quarries at St.Elie on 12th October.
The battalion was told off to attack on 13th October, from a line roughly semi circular, the left being on St. Elie Avenue. The attack was to be covered by a smoke screen. A heavy barrage was laid down beginning at noon and was most intensive by 1:45. By some error the smoke screen was topped at 1:40 and when the attack was launched at 2 pm the Germans could clearly be seen manning their trench. The battalion soon suffered from enfilading machine gun fire which the trench mortars were unable to knock out. One platoon was almost annihilated as it tried to advance. On the left 50 men did take 200 yards of enemy tench and held in until supplies of bombs ran out. Reinforcements could not get up due to being mown down in the first 20 yards by machine guns.
The casualties in this, the battalions first action, was 5 officers killed, six wounded, other ranks 66 killed, 196 wounded and 160 missing.

CWGC figures are 162 all ranks killed, only 6 have identified graves.

Courtesy of the above "Brandon at War" link, just when his mother was worrying about lack of news from Walter a letter arrived from one of his chums, Lance Corporal J.H. Waltham, who wrote to her. :-
"I was the last to see him and I want to assure you all of his great bravery. It was he alone that got half the trench back and saved us from all getting wiped out. Somehow between us we used their (German) bombs and sent them back. Walter threw them and I got them ready. It was impossible for me to do anything as they were so close on us. We were always the best of friends, I might almost say like brothers, as we seldom did anything without each other's consent. So I assure you I share your loss and miss a great friend. A bullet passed through my back, and I have to lie in bed now for nearly a month now."
Elizabeth wanted to know more about Walter's death and so she wrote back to the Lance Corporal asking if he could help with her query. His reply did not offer much.
"I don't know what I can tell you further than yesterday, save that it was a bomb that fell. You see we were all packed together very tightly, thus making a good target. Walter was conscious when I said a hasty goodbye to him, but I feel almost certain that this did not last for long … This did not happen at the Loos affair, but we were following it up about a fortnight afterwards. I read with much regret about Albert Royal; we saw him in the trench, but somehow or other I saw no more of him."

Albert ROYAL was killed in the same action see here

photo: Roy Beardsworth

Walter Talbot is commemorated on the Loos memorial, Dud Corner, panels 30/31

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