Second Lieutenant Sidney Walters, MC

Walters Sidney 96 450x600

Died of Wounds on Friday, 4th October 1918, age 24.
Buried in Grave V. J. 29. at Tincourt New British Cemetery, Somme, France.

1st/6th Bn., South Staffordshire Regiment. 137th Brigade of 46th Division.

Son of Alfred and Mary Walters, of Toll End, Tipton; husband of Dora Walters, of 40, King St., Wednesbury.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Unknown, Resident: Wednesbury.

First landed Balkans, 21st July 1915.
Medal entitlement: Military Cross, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the St. Mark's Memorial, and Wednesbury Roll of Honour.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/256556/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
27 Spring Street, Ocker Hill, Tipton, Staffs.
Alfred Walters (age 36, Colliery Engine Driver, born Tipton), his wife Mary J Walters (age 36, born Tipton), and their 9 children: Ethel (14, born Tipton), Alfred E. (13, Nut and Bolt Packer, born Tipton), John Henry (12, born Tipton), Elizabeth Alice (10, born Tipton), Flora (8, born Tipton), Nellie (7, born Tipton), Sydney (6, born Tipton), Bertie (3, born Tipton), and Maud (1, School, born Tipton).

1911 Census
91 Gospel Oak Road, Tipton, Staffs.
Alfred Walters (age 46, Colliery Engine Driver, born Tipton) and his wife Mary J Walters (age 46, born Tipton), and all their 11 surviving children of 12: Ethel (24, born Tipton), Alfred Ernest (23, Blacksmith, born Tipton), John Henry (22, Fitter, born Tipton), Elizabeth Alice (20, Servant, born Tipton), Flora (18, Servant, born Tipton), Nellie (17, At Home, born Tipton), Sydney (16, Nut and Bolt Heater, born West Bromwich), Bertie (13, School, born Tipton), Maud (11, School, born Tipton), Cyril (9, born Tipton), and Edward (7, born Tipton).

Marriage of Sidney Walters and Dora Handley registered December quarter 1916 in West Bromwich.
Medal Index Card has correspondence address of: Mrs Walters (widow), 136 Oxford Street, Newtown, Wednesbury.

Personal Data

Private 10650 Sidney Walters first landed in the Balkans (probably Mudros) on 21st July 1915 - so he was initially with the 7th South Staffs. He would have landed at Suvla Bay on the 6th/7th August. We do not know details of Sidney's service, but he would have been promoted through the ranks, and was believed to have been commissioned as Second Lieutenant on 30th October 1917. If Sidney served with the 7th Battalion until his commission, then as well as Gallipoli, he would have seen service during the battles of the Somme, Messines Ridge and 3rd Ypres.

Following his commission, Sidney was posted to the 1/6th Battalion, South Staffs. Their finest day was 29th September 1918 ("the day the Staffords won the war"), with the breaching of the Hindenburg Line when the 137th (Staffordshire) Brigade stormed the Riqueval Bridge and took the village of Bellenglise. It was on this day that Sidney won his Military Cross. The Supplement to the London Gazette dated 4 October 1919 states: "For conspicuous courage in action on September 29, 1918, in operations near Bellenglise. With a few men he attacked an enemy machine gun which was holding up troops on his flank. He rushed the post and turned the gun on the retreating enemy. Throughout the operations he led his platoon with great dash and coolness."

War Diary 29th September 1918 – modestly
At 5.50 a.m. under a heavy Artillery and Machine Gun Barrage the Battalion as part of the 137th Infantry Brigade crossed the ST. QUENTIN CANAL and captured the HINDENBURG LINE and the Village of BELLENGLISE.

After Walter's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £49/13/6d (49 pounds, 13 shillings and 6 pence); this was paid to his widow, Dora, in March 1919. His War Gratuity was £19/10/0d (19 pounds and 10 shillings), this was also paid to his widow, Dora, in December 1919. It is likely that Walter had enlisted in approximately September or October 1914.

Action resulting in his death

Following the breach of the Hindenburg Line the offensive continued, pushing the Germans eastwards. The War Diary of 3rd October reports that Sidney had been severely wounded. The Commonwealth War Graves records his death on the next day, 4th October. Sidney is buried in Tincourt New British Cemetery.

War Diary 3rd October 1918
The Battalion was in position by 05.00am. Zero Hour was 06.05am.The Battalion was on the right of the attack, the 32nd Division taking Sequehart on our right flank. 'C' & 'D' Companies were in the first wave, 'A' & 'B' Companies in the second wave. The Battalion met with very strong opposition from the enemy, his machine gunners being especially troublesome. After some very hard fighting during which many of the enemy were killed and many captured, the battalion reached its objective by about 08.00am. Outposts were pushed forward on to Mannequin Hill but later had to be withdrawn owing to the intense enfilade machine gun fire. Unsuccessful counter-attacks on both flanks were made by the enemy. Shelling and machine gun fire was severe throughout the day. 2/Lieut. C.P.H. Sylvester and 2/Lieut. G. Evans were killed and 2/Lieut S. Walters severely wounded.

Newspaper Cuttings