Walter Burnley

Born: October 1860
Died: Not known
Service number: 8/13434
Rank: Private
Regiment/Service: "D" Company 8th Battalion Yorkshire and Lancashire Regiment​
Family information: Spouse: Elizabeth Burnley (nee Fox), 10 Ash Street, Grovetown, Pontefract

War service

Walter attested (joined up) at Pontefract Barracks on a 3 year Short Service engagement on the 2 September 1914, giving his age as 23 years and 11 months and his occupation as a collier; he joined the 8th Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment, his regimental number being 13434.

He was described as being 5’ 8” tall and weighing 132 lbs.

Along with the Battalion he was posted to Frensham Camp and was inoculated there on 5 October 1915 against Typhoid.

He was posted to the BEF in France on 27 August 1915 and served in France until 12 March 1917. He must therefore have been present at Ovillers on 1 July 1916 when the 8th Battalion assaulted the German positions on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. His brother Benjamin, and all but 68 of the 703 strong Battalion were killed.

Sometime, just prior to 12 March 1917, he received multiple shrapnel wounds to his right finger, left knee and forearm, and was sent back to England.

He was admitted to Warncliffe War Hospital, Sheffield on 13 March 1917 and attached to ‘C’ company, 14th Btn York and Lancaster Regiment. Discharged from hospital on 30 April 1917 he was given leave until 9th May, during which he got married. At that time he was declared as fit only for home service and unlikely ever to be fit enough for service overseas.

So, on the 10 May 1917 he was posted to the Northern Command Depot at Ripon but on 28 July 1917 he was posted back to the BEF with the 3rd Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment. On arrival the next day at Boulogne he was transferred to the 2nd Battalion. On 15 September 1917 he was declared ‘permanent base’ by a medical board.

He remained in Boulogne until 19 January 1919 when he was sent home to England and on 4 February he was given 28 days leave and finally demobilised on 18 February 1919.

He remained a private throughout his army service and was awarded the 1914/15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

Family story

During leave from 30 April to 9 May 1917, Walter returned to 6 Elm Street, Grovetown, Pontefract and married Elizabeth Fox at All Saints Church, Pontefract on 5 May 1917.

After being demobbed in February 1919, he lived at 10 Ash Street, Grovetown, Pontefract.

Story submitted by Eric Jackson.

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