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Private Walter William Clements died 09-04-1917 aged 32

Walter William Clements was born to Frank and Louisa Clements, (Louisa’s maiden name was Spreadbury) in the first qtr of 1885, in Upavon. Frank Clements, Walter’s father, was born in Charlton, and was a Farm Labourer, Louisa Ellen, his mother was born in Rushall. Walter was the eldest of 6 children, 4 boys, Walter (b.1885), Frederick (b.1889), Maurice (b.1892), and Reginald (b.1897) and 2 girls Clara (b.1889) and Edith (b. 1899).

In the 1891 Census Walter is living with his Mother and father in Upavon, with his brother Frederick, and his sister Clara, Walter and Frederick are both at school and Frank is an Agricultural Labourer.

By the 1901 Census, the family has grown, Maurice, Reginald and Edith have all been born, they are still living in Upavon, but Walter and Frederick are now Agricultural Labourers like their father.

By 1911 Walter has joined the Army, he is a signaller in the 1st Wiltshire Regiment and he is posted in South Africa. According to the National Archives the 1st Wiltshire were stationed at, Fort Napier, Pietermaritzburg, Natal, South Africa at this time.

In 1911, Frank and Louisa are still living in Upavon with Reginald and Emma.

On the 25th November 1912, Walters father, Frank Clements, died.

World War 1

According to records Walter was now in the 2nd Battalion of the Wiltshire Regiment,

At the outbreak of war, the 2nd Wilts were serving as part of the Gibraltar Garrison. Recalled home to Britain, the 2nd Wilts was attached to the 21st Brigade, part of the 7th Division. As part of the 21st Brigade, the 2nd Wilts arrived in France in October 1914, in time to take part in the First Ypres, where it suffered heavy casualties in helping to stop the German advance. In December 1915, the 21st Brigade transferred to the 30th Division. In three years of action on the Western Front, the 2nd Wilts took part in most of the major engagements, including the battles of Neuve Chapelle, Aubers, Loos, Albert, Arras and Third Ypres. In March 1918 the 2nd Wilts, like the 1st Wilts, was nearly destroyed during the German Army's Spring Offensive.

The Battle of Scarpe, where Walter was killed, was part of the second Battle of Arras which was a British offensive on the Western Front during World War I. From 9 April to 16 May 1917, British troops attacked German defences near the French city of Arras on the Western Front. The British achieved the longest advance since trench warfare had begun, surpassing the record set by the French Sixth Army on 1 July 1916. The British advance slowed in the next few days and the German defence recovered. The battle became a costly stalemate for both sides and by the end of the battle, the British Third and First Armies had suffered about 160,000 and the German 6th Army about 125,000 casualties.

Private Walter William Clements died on 9th April 1917 aged 32, and is buried at Bucquoy Road Cemetery, Ficheux, France.


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