Service number: 12638 | Rank: Private | Regiment: Norfolk Regiment.
Killed in action, October 13, 1915, in Flanders.
Remembered at LOOS MEMORIAL, panels 30 to 31.
WHAT I KNOW ABOUT WALTER …
The 7th Battalion of the Norfolk Regiment was the destiny of another Brandon lad, Walter Talbot, who was barely out of his teens joined up with his mates in the first month of the war. They left the town on 25th August 1914 to enter into Army life and landed in France in May 1915. Walter was named after his father and Walter senior, with his wife Elizabeth, ran the Duke of Wellington public house, along Thetford Road, at the time his son went off to war. While the young Walter was off serving in the Army his father was called before the local magistrates because he had allowed light to shine from his pub during the evening hours of a black out and on another occasion he had sold alcohol to a minor. By the end of the war the family would be out of the pub and living at 2 Church Road, in Brandon.
On 13th October 1915 Walter was serving with a group of ‘bombers’. These ‘bombers’ were tasked with going so far forward toward the enemy lines that they could throw grenades into the enemy trenches ahead of the main onslaught by the rest of the 7th Battalion. Another Brandon lad, Corporal Henry Wharf, was injured at the time Walter Talbot was killed and he wrote to his own mother from his hospital bed. He told her he had heard Walter had perished in the attack. The local newspaper then printed Corporal Wharf’s letter and it is not known if Walter’s family had been told of this letter via a more direct fashion or first saw it in print. Up to this point Walter’s mother had not been officially informed heard that her son had been killed although in her heart of hearts she was aware that something was wrong. She had not received any letters from Walter for some considerable time. Further evidence came from Walter’s comrade, 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.”