Home    Topics    Memorials    Miscellany    Transcripts    References    Family History    Glossary    Latest    Beeston Blog    About us          Site Search   

Crimean WarBoer WarWorld WarsRoll of HonourBoys Brigade in WW1
War Memorials

In Memory of
Corporal 12/1344
1st Garrison Battalion The Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Who died on Monday, 3rd April 1916
Age 55

Buried C. E7. Grave 16
Beeston Cemetery, Wollaton Rd, Beeston, Notts.

Commemorated in Perpetuity
by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Remembered with Honour
Sanders memorial

Memorial in Beeston Cemetery

Walter James Sanders was born in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire in 1861 1, the son of Joseph (b. c1835, Bromsgrove) and Harriet Sanders (b. c1835, Bromsgrove, née Davies). His mother died, aged only 32, in 1867 and his father remarried, to Mary Healey, in 1871. When a young man, Walter had first followed his father to work as a postman in Bromsgrove1 but, when he was 20, he enlisted with the Royal Marine Artillery. Unfortunately, for some reason, he was invalided out in 18823. It appears though, that he was able to rejoin the Army and served for the next fifteen years, including twelve in India. By 1897, he had met Selina Draycott (b. Sneinton, Nottingham 1852, née Wiley) who had been widowed since towards the end of 1893. They married towards the end of 18974 and made their home at 35 Hawthorne Grove, Beeston, with Walter working as a railway wagon repairer5. Later they moved to 1 Clifton Street, Beeston and Walter was working as a radiator tester at an iron foundry6.

Walter was 53 when War started in August 1914, far older that the age group that was expected to enlist. Nevertheless, in October 1915, he was able to enlist with the The Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry to join its 1st (Reserve) Garrison Battalion when it was formed at Newcastle-upon-Tyne in February, 19167. This Battalion provided support services for the Regiment from its base in England. Walter clearly showed promise as, by April, he had been promoted to Acting Corporal but something was clearly wrong with his health as he died of pneumonia on 3 April 1916, at 1st Northern General Hospital, then a military hospital in Newcastle-upon-Tyne8. As a long serving soldier, he had clearly wanted to serve when war came, but sadly, his final time with the Colours had been only too short. But, with an overall 18 years of service in the Army it was believed the he was then Beeston's oldest soldier.

His body was returned to Beeston and was buried on 8th April 1916, at Wollaton Road Cemetery, with military honours. His memorial is one of 46 in the cemetery, from all wars, which are maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission9.

Sadly, little has survived regarding his war service. Only two official records have been found - he is included in "Soldiers Died in the Great War" and the Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects (1901-1929) record the payment to his widow of 3 1s 4d on 10 January 1917 and a War Gratuity of 5 15s on 13 January 192010. She died in 1927, aged 7411.

1His birth was registered in Bromsgrove Registration District in Q2/1861 (Ref 6c 41). However, this appear to be a late registration as he is recorded as aged 3 months in the 1861 Census on 7 April (Piece 2113 Folio 91) - pointing to his birth being in January 1861.
2Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, 1881 Census, Piece 2938 Folio 77 - 6 Windsor Terrace.
3Attestation Papers, National Archives, ref ADM 157/657/3.
4Their marriage was registered in Nottingham Registration District in Q4/1897 (Ref 7b 708).
5Beeston, 1901 Census, Piece 3153 Folio 160
6Beeston, 1911 Census, Piece 20431 RD429 SD3 ED6 Schedule 147
7Details of the formation of the battalions are from www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-british-infantry-regiments-of-1914-1918/kings-own-yorkshire-light-infantry.
8His rank and the date and place of his death are recorded in "Soldiers Died in the Great War". His death was registered in Newcastle-upon-Tyne Registration District in Q2/1916 (Ref 20b 22)
9Unfortunately, he is recorded as 'Walter James Saunders' in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission records and on his memorial stone. We are grateful to Peter Gillings for pointing this out and for the photograph of the memorial stone. There is an account of his funeral in Nottingham Daily Express of 16 April 1916.
10Details of these payments are from "Army Register of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929" - available on ancestry.com.
11Her death was registered in Basford Registration District (of which Beeston is part) in Q1/1927 (Ref 7b 319)

Return to Top of Page