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Private Walter Maslin died 06-12-1918 aged  28

We have a problem with Walter Maslen, with an ‘e’ who appears on our war memorial, because according to the memorial, Walter Maslen was in the 4th Wiltshire Regiment. When we look at records from the Commonwealth War Graves commission we can find a Walter Maslin, with an ‘i’, of the 2nd/6th Battalion .of the Devonshire Regiment who died on 06 December 1918 Age 28, and was the son of Mr. W. Maslin, of Upavon, Marlborough, Wilts. So this document here refers to Walter Maslen and Walter Maslin and I hope they are the same person.

We think Walter Maslen (with an ‘e’) was born in about 1888 in Compton, near Enford, the family were at the time of the 1901 Census living in Upavon with his father William and his mother Sarah. William is described as a Groom, gardener. Walter is the youngest of 5 children 4 boys, Frederick (b 1875), Jesse (b 1879), Albert (b 1881) and Walter, and a Sister called Alice (b 1884).Frederick and Jesse are both Farm Labourers.

In 1901 the family are still in Upavon, Walter is 13, his eldest brother Fred is now a Shepherd, Jesse is a Groom, Albert is a Carter, and his Father William is now an Agricultural Labourer, the family do have 2 boarders who are both Apprentices from the Racing Stables.

By 1911, the family is still in Upavon, Walter is now 23 and a Labourer, and both his elder brothers are Carters, from the 1911 Census we can see that Walter was one of 11 Children that William and Sarah had (They had 12 but one died).

As I have said previously Walter is stated to have been part of the 4th Wiltshire Regiment. The 4th Wiltshire regiment were part of the Territorial Army who were mobilized and very quickly had sufficient men to form two battalions. The 1st /4th went to India in October 1914 to relieve regular battalions, followed quickly by the 2nd /4th. The 1st/4th and 2nd/4th spent 1915 in India on Garrison duties, but did supply a number of men as reinforcements to front line battalions in other theatres of operations. I’m wondering whether Walter was sent as a reinforcement to the Devonshires? Another theory is, as you can see below, the 2nd/6th Devonshires are in India at the same time as the 4th Wiltshire Regiment, did Walter transfer between regiments in India? This is speculation on my part but it might explain the change of regiment.

The Devonshires 2/6th Battalion

Formed at Barnstaple on 16 September 1914 as a Second Line battalion. Became part of 2nd Devon and Cornwall Brigade, 2nd Wessex Division.

12 December 1914 : sailed for India. Came under orders of 6th (Poona) Divisional Area at Bombay.

March 1916: moved to 7th (Meerut) Divisional Area.

August 1916: moved to Peshawar Brigade in 1st (Peshawar) Division.

Left for Mesopotamia, landing at Basra on 14 September 1917 and then remaining until the end of the war as Lines of Communication troops.

If this our Walter (although his name is now spelt with an ‘i’ and he appears to be 2 years younger) Private Walter Maslin, 65057, 2nd/6th Bn., Devonshire Regiment died on 06 December 1918 Age 28, Son of Mr. W. Maslin, of Upavon, Marlborough, Wilts and is buried in Basra War Cemetry.