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War Memorials



In Memory of
HAROLD HENRY WALTON
Captain. "A" Company, 1st/7th Battalion Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby) Regiment
Who died on Wednesday, 13th October 1915
Age 20

No Known Grave. Panel 88
Loos Memorial to the "Missing", Dud Corner Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France

Commemorated in Perpetuity
by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
&
Remembered with Honour
Loos Memorial

The Loos Memorial, France1

Harold Henry Walton Harold Henry Walton was born in 1895 in Lockington, Derbyshire, the son of Edmund & Harriet Ellen (née West) Walton. In 1901 the family were living at 6 Bridgford Road, West Bridgford, Notts. The census on this date shows his father, age 36, a widower. He was an Auctioneer and Estate Agent. Harold, age six, was the youngest of two boys, his brother Arthur was two years older and they had a sister Constance who was only three. Also living in the house were three domestic servants.3 Later in 1901, Edmond married a second time, to Emily Timms Bladon and the family moved to The Manor House, Chilwell in 19043.

Harold Henry Walton was educated at Oundle Public School, where he later joined the Officer Cadet Corps and developed a good shot with the rifle. He was also present at the inspection of the public schoolboys at Windsor by the King some years earlier4.

Upon leaving college he became articled to the firm of Walker, Walton, and Hanson, of which his father was a partner, and his brother was then an assistant. He joined the Robin Hoods in 1913 as a 2nd Lieutenant5, obtained promotion in June 1915 and was gazetted to a temporary captaincy only a week before he was killed. He was slightly wounded twice, once in the thigh and on the second occasion in the hand, but soon rejoined his battalion after treatment.

Captain Harold Walton was killed on 13th October 1915, during the 1st/7th Sherwood Foresters "Robin Hoods" Battalion involvement in the "Battle of Loos". After many near misses, he died as the result of a German bomb in "Little Willie" trench at the Hohenzollen Redoubt. The detail dispositions for the attack by the 46th Division was as follows:

The Lincoln & Leicestershire Brigade was to attack the Hohenzollen Redoubt, having the Robin Hoods in support and the 1st/8th Sherwoods in reserve. On the right was the Staffordshire Brigade with the 6th Sherwoods in support and the 5th Sherwoods in reserve, their object being the Fosse 8.

At 12pm an intensive artillery bombardment of the redoubt and Fosse 8 commenced. The Robin Hoods from the Railway Reserve Trench watched with considerable interest this intensive fire of the artillery. The heavy guns concentrating on the village of Fosse 8, and on the bursting debris some fifty to sixty feet high. This heavy artillery bombardment cheered all ranks as they felt nothing could live under the fire. This terrific bombardment lasted an hour when an emission of gas was launched from the front line trenches followed by smoke cloud. At 2pm behind the smoke cloud, the Staffordshire men were seen to advance in regular lines, but alas this was not to last for long. They had not proceeded many yards before they were seen to be mowed down in rows. The hopes that the enemy's machine gun positions had been destroyed by the artillery before the advance was to proof false. The Germans had removed most of their machine guns into deep dugouts in the redoubt, and immediately the allied bombardment ceased they were replaced into their battle positions, and swept the whole area of the ground over which the infantry attack was made.

It was left to Captain Arthur Walton the deceased brother, also serving with the Robin Hoods, to telegram the sad news to his father. The next day the local paper reported the news:

Robin Hood Captain's Death - Mr Edmund Walton of the Manor House Chilwell, received information yesterday that his son, Captain Harold Henry Walton, of the Robin Hoods has been killed while on service in Flanders. It was only a fortnight ago that the young officer was included in the list of those whom the King had conferred the Military Cross in recognition of gallantry and devotion to duty.

Walton Memorial The official description of the deeds which earned the honours for Captain Walton, then a Lieutenant, in the London Gazette, read:

London Gazette, 2nd October 1915: For conspicuous gallantry and energy on several occasions. On the night of 30th-31st July 1915, at Sanctuary Wood near Ypres, when ordered to re-occupy an advanced sap, he was heavily bombarded with trench mortars and rifle grenades, several of his men having been killed and buried; but by his gallant conduct he kept his men in hand and held on to his position.

Had the enemy been able to get a footing in it, the defence of the next trench would have been very difficult. On the night of 3rd-4th August he led a patrol up an evacuated trench. It was not known if it was occupied by the enemy or not, and the information he brought back was of great value. Lieutenant Walton has frequently reconnoitred close up to the enemy's trenches and obtain valuable information.

Captain Walton, who has no known grave, is remembered on the Loos Memorial and there is a memorial (Shown Right) to him in Beeston Parish Church. Four oak trees, shown on the right of the photograph of Chilwell Manor, the home of the Walton family (shown below right), were planted as a memorial to Harold Henry Walton, by his father in 1915.

Chilwell Manor

Arthur Atkinson Walton, Harold's older brother, rose to the rank of Captain by the end of the War. Afterwards, he took an active part in the Territorial Army (Robin Hoods), rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and Commanding Officer in 1935. He was Senior Partner of Walker Walton & Hanson estate agents (now Savills) until 1958 when he retired. A photograph of the brothers in 1914 may be seen here.

Loos Memorial - The memorial forms the side and back of Dud Corner Cemetery, and commemorates over 20,000 officers and men who have no known grave, who fell in the area from the River Lys to the old southern boundary of the First Army, east and west of Grenay. Loos-en-Gohelle is a village 5 kilometres north-west of Lens, and Dud Corner Cemetery is located about 1 kilometre west of the village, to the north-east of the N43 the main Lens to Bethune road. Dud Corner Cemetery stands almost on the site of a German strong point, the Lens Road Redoubt, captured by the 15th (Scottish) Division on the first day of the battle.The name "Dud Corner" is believed to be due to the large number of unexploded enemy shells found in the neighbourhood after the Armistice.

On either side of the cemetery is a wall 15 feet high, to which are fixed tablets on which are carved the names of those commemorated. At the back are four small circular courts, open to the sky, in which the lines of tablets are continued, and between these courts are three semicircular walls or apses, two of which carry tablets, while on the centre apse is erected the Cross of Sacrifice.6


Footnotes
1The photograph of the Loos Memorial is from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. (http://www.cwgc.org)
2West Bridgford, Notts - 1901 Census - Piece 3161 Folio 52. Edmond Walton was the son of John Atkinson Walton and his wife Jane who lived at Lockington. His wife Harriet was the daughter of Henry West, a farmer & Mary Ann his wife, of Upwell Cambridgeshire. Harriet died in 1898, aged 34 (GRO Q4/1898 Bingham 7b 269)
3Chilwell Notts, 1911 Census - Piece 1244 RD434 SD4 ED2 Schedule 75. Harold Henry, then aged 16, was then boarding at Oundle School (Laxton House). Emily Timms Bladon was the daughter of George Thomas Bladon, a retired draper who had previously operated a substantial business on Long Row, Nottingham.
4Although details of Captain Walton are not specifically mentioned, the Oundle In Memoriam site at http://www.inmemories.com/RollOfHonour/oundleschool.htm has photographs of the cadets parading in the immediate pre-war period. Some 960 men from Oundle School are known to have served in the Great War. Of these, 222 were killed in action, died of wounds, accidents or illnesses.
5It is known that that land adjacent to the Manor House at Chilwell was used for Militia training immediately prior to the Great War; it is likely that 2nd Lieutenant Walton was associated with this.
6The desciption of the Loos Memorial is based on that on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. (http://www.cwgc.org)

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