COE, Walter

No.5869, Private, Walter COE
Aged 20

2nd/5th Battalion (TF), Gloucestershire Regiment
formerly No. 2490, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Monday, 16th October 1916

Walter Coe was born in Cowlinge 1896, his birth registration has not been identified, baptised in Cowlinge on 22nd Decemeber 1896, son of George and Maria COE (née MARTIN).

1901 census...Aged 5, he was at Dunstall Green, Dalham with his father George [46] horse keeper, born Stradishall; his mother Maria [43] born Cowlinge; brothers Alfred [23] farm labourer, Arthur [21] horse keeper, George [18] farm labourer, William [7], Harry [3] and Ernest [11 months] and sisters Emily [10] and Florie [9]. All the children except Ernest were born in Cowlinge, Ernest was born in Dunstall Green.

1911 census...Aged 15, he was a farm labourer, at Dunstall Green, Dalham with his parents and brothers Alfred, William and Harry (all farm labourers) and Ernest. All 11 children still survived.

He enlisted in Bury St Edmunds.
Since the battle of Alexandria in 1801 when they fought on despite being surrounded. The Gloucestershire Regiment, uniquely in the British Army, wear a badge front and back of when in service dress. Nicknamed "The Glorious Glosters", the regiment carried more battle honours on their regimental colours than any other British Army line regiment.

The 2nd/5th Territorial Battalion of the Glosters arrived in France on 23rd May 1916, but did not take part in the Battle of the Somme until near the end in November. They were in reserve at Fromelles in July and it was they who had the depressing task of bringing in and burying the dead, which took three or four days, nor did the Germans fire a shot on stretcher bearers and others wandering about No Man's Land in broad daylight. The battalion moved down to the Somme at the end of October, too late for any of the battles but in time to follow up the German retreat to the Hindenburg in March/April 1917.

The battalion had only three killed in the whole week.

photo: Rodney Gibson

Walter Coe is buried in Pont-du-Hem, La Gorgue, grave 2:B:15

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