FLEET, Walter

No.G/15142, Private, Walter FLEET
Aged 19

6th Battalion, Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment)
Killed in Action on Saturday, 7th October 1916

Walter Fleet was born in Isleham on 26th May 1897 (Newmarket Q2-1897 3B:522) baptised Isleham on 11th July 1897, son of Walter and Sarah Elizabeth FLEET (née BROWN).

1901 census...Aged [3] he was at East End, Isleham with his father Walter FLEET [25] farm labourer; his mother Sarah [22] and sisters Sarah [2] and Gladys [6 months],they were all born in Isleham.

1911 census...Aged 13, a farm houseboy, he was in Bedlam Yard, Sun Street, with his parents, sister Sarah Elizabeth and 5 new siblings; brother Albert William [8] and sisters Gladys Susan [6],Lilian Mary [3] Margaret [2] and Ethel {5 months]. I child had died, Gladys (1901).

By September 1919, according to Army papers, there were 12 siblings all living at Sun Street, Isleham:- Brothers David [23] Albert William [17] John [6] and Walter [6 months] and sisters Sarah E [21],Susan G.[15],Mary F [12],Margaret [10],Ethel [8], Emma [7], Doris [4] and Beatrice [2]

The pension card has the family home still in Sun Street.

Enlisted in Newmarket on 11th December 1915 and posted to the Reserves. Mobilised on 11th May 1916, he was 5' 7.5" (171.5 cm) tall, weighed 138 lbs (62.8 kg) and chest was 37" to 40.5"(94 to 102.9 cm) . He was posted to the 9th Battalion Royal West Kents on 14th May 1916.
1st September he was sent to the 3rd Battalion but on 13th September he was posted to the Base Depot with the BEF in France and joined the 6th Battalion on 29th September 1916. Posted missing in action on 7th October 1916.
6th Battalion, The Queens Own took part in a major action on 7th October 1916 near Gueudecourt. From Roy Westlake's "Tracing the British Battalions on the Somme" we find:- that in their advance on Ration Trench they had suffered heavily from bombardment before moving forward at 1:45 pm. Leading waves were cut down by machine gun fire in No Man's Land. 'C' Coy advanced 150 yards before being held up. They withdrew at nightfall."
Ration Trench and Gueudecourt were taken a couple of days later by the Newfoundlanders
98 of the battalion were killed, only 12 have identified graves.

Walter Fleet is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France - pier and face 11C

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