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Walter Clarke was born in Royton in 1896, his parents being Walter and Ellen. Walter snr was originally from Salford and Ellen was a native of Royton. Walter was the second of six children, the others being Edward,Frank,Nellie,Lillie&Harry. Tragedy struck the family in 1907 when Ellen died. The following year Walter snr married a Royton widow, Bertha Mannion and they set up home on Shaw Road with the 6 Clarke children and two of Bertha's daughters.
Before joining the army,Walter jnr was a piecer at the Parkside Mill. He enlisted in Shaw in early 1915 and went out on active service later that year. He was injured several times during his service and was also buried by a shell. In October of 1917 it was reported in the Oldham Chronicle that Walter has been wounded in the head,ear and back by shrapnel. After recovering from that he rejoined his unit, the 1st KORL, late in November. On December 2nd they moved into the front line. For the date of Walter's death the battalion's unit war diary just records that they were in the front line, the following day however they were hit by heavy shelling with poison gas. A total of 12 men were killed in that barrage, with another being killed whilst out on patrol. 30 men further men were hospitalised due to the effects of the gas. Walter must have died on the night of the 4th/5th,with further casualties coming later, along with:
BAILEY JOSEPH 24 Lance Corporal 10636 from Hulme,Manchester
BONEHILL SYDNEY Private 30629 from London
CHURCH HARRY 25 Private 30316 from Northamptonshire
FOOTT BERTRAM 20 Corporal 235274 from Edmonton,London
LEWIS EDWARD 22 Private 30633 from Barnston,the Wirral
MORGAN RICHARD 20 Private 35246 from Manchester
McARDLE RICHARD 19 Private 265905 from Darwen
PETO ALBERT 38 Private 23765 from London
WATSON JOSEPH Private 20208 from Co.Durham
WILSON JOHN Private 15122 from Chadderton
Date of Death:04/12/1917
Regiment/Service:King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment)
Panel Reference:Bay 2.