Tracing Private N.S Walton

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Tracing Private N.S Walton

Postby bimble7116 » Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:10 pm

Hi there,

Hoping that somebody on here with more tracking experience than me - I'm still an apprentice! I'm trying to find out more about my great uncle, Nathaniel Stockdale Walton.

Nathaniel was in the BR and killed in the Battle of the Somme on 5th July 1916 - probably during the Battle of Albert. I know no more than that about him. I think he was probably in the 1st Battalion...although its possible he could have been in one of the service battalions - is there a way to find out?

Nathaniel was from County Durham, his sister, my great grandmother, lived to her 91st year, dying in 1983. All she said about Nathaniel was that all his family were too upset to talk about his death - so they didn't. His mother was heart broken and I remember it being said in family discussion that she never got over it.

He has no grave, but is commemorated on Thiepval Memorial. If somebody could point me in the right direction as to how to trace his records in the BR, I'd be most appreciative.

Thanks and regards

Andy H
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Re: Tracing Private N.S Walton

Postby plbramham » Mon Mar 25, 2013 8:46 am

Hi, and welcome to the forum,

It’s pretty easy to find details of your ancestor. Click this link for The Commonwealth Wargraves Commission:
http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casua ... 0STOCKDALE

Where you will find these details recorded:

WALTON, NATHANIEL STOCKDALE Rank: Private. Service No:14942. Date of Death: 05/07/1916
Regiment/Service: Border Regiment 8th Bn. THIEPVAL MEMORIAL Panel Reference:Pier and Face 6 A and 7 C.

On that page there is a button “view certificate", click this and you can download and print ( free of charge) a certificate from a PDF commemorating your relative. ( I've posted a rough copy of what you can expect below - I emphasise there is no charge by the CWGC to download these certificates)

Note he died serving in the 8th (Service) battalion not the 1st.
There is also an excellent website by one of our member “Spike” for the 8th Battalion The Border Regiment.
Click this link : http://freewebs.com/kendalpals/index.htm
The site's history page is this link: http://freewebs.com/kendalpals/kendalpals1.htm
and the wargrave project page with your relative on is this link: http://freewebs.com/kendalpals/ROH12.htm

I am currently transcribing the whole of the 8th battalion war diaries – see this forum's World War One section, subsection 8th Battalion ( Service). These transcripts will give you an idea of where the 8th were and what they were doing on The Western Front between October 1915 and June 1918 ( when I've completed all the transcripts!).

However, for a “taster”, the action that Nathanial was killed in was the 8th Battalion's first action during the Battle of The Somme between 3rd-5th July 1916 ( The 8th Bn did not go over the top during the first two days of the battle).
Here’s the war diary for those dates:

3/7/1916
MARTINSAART WOOD :
The Reg’t was supposed to attack the German front line at 3 am but this was postponed till 6 am. The Batt’n advanced in 4 waves. D a & A Coy’s from our front line B & C Coy’s from our support line.
Each company had two platoons in line crossing on a front of some 150 or 200 yards followed by the other two platoons. As the leading companies left the front trench their place was taken by the two leading Platoons of each supporting Company. Touch was kept with the Cheshires by means of runners. This means of communication was also adopted to keep touch with the 2nd S. Lancs. Regt. The leading companies understood their objectives and had sufficient time to explain their orders to their men according to the operation orders issued in MARTINSAART WOOD. The Coy’s in support had not sufficient time to explain these orders thoroughly to their men owing to the d istance from the front line and the enemy’s shell fire.
The 1st two waves went out punctually at the appointed hour, the other two Coy’s were held in the front line till it was seen how things were going and till reinforcements were requested. A message was sent back asking for reinforcements and bombs and these were sent up immediately. 0 (?) platoon as at this time were sent up no reinforcements had arrived from the reserve to take our place. Eventually all reinforcements were sent except a platoon with 2 Lewis guns. The last reserve of 2 platoons did not reach the enemy line but returned with the Battalion when it retired. The frontage occupied In the German line was about 180 yards which had been much damaged by our shell fire and there was very little cover. The right flank giving way was the cause of the Battn falling back and also the unfortunate word “retire” undoubtedly passed along from the right. Major Birt ordered the left to conform.
Orders and messages referring to the operations took a very long time to reach Battn H Q owing to the dark and the orderlies being near to the trenches. There was no telephone to Battn H Q and all messages were by runners. This delayed instructions to O C Coys and did not give them time to arrange bombing parties, etc for clearing the German communication trenches. The German rifle & machine gun fire was not particularly severe and had communication with the right and left been kept up throughout the attack would have been successful.
During the operation we suffered the following casualties: 4 officers killed and 10 wounded 430 casualties other ranks.

4/7/1916
MARTINSAART WOOD :
The Reg’t left the front line trenches being relieved by the 1st Wiltshire Regt & marched to the south side of AveluyWood .

5/7/1916
AVELUY WOOD :
The regiment remained in bivouac at Aveluy Wood.

One thing I will say is that I have noticed that a lot of the 8th Border missing men named on the Thiepval Memorial are listed as dying on the 5th July. I believe that there was no roll call between the 3rd and the 5th of July, so the 5th would be the first time that the casualty failed to answer his name and thus that would be the date recorded. The men actually listed as dying on the the 3rd or 4th must have been observed to have been killed on that day, plus of course the person who saw them die would have to have themselves survived to report it. To summarise, I think your relative died between 3rd & 5th July 1916.

Hope this helps, Paul
Attachments
walton.jpg
A rough copy of the certificate you can download free of charge from the CWGC site.
walton.jpg (61.94 KiB) Viewed 3112 times
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Re: Tracing Private N.S Walton

Postby plbramham » Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:10 am

Hello again,
I’ve done some research and found the following about your ancestor.

“Soldiers Died in the Great War” states:
“Name -Nathanial Stockdale Walton. Birthplace- Coundon, Durham. Deat Date- 5 Jul 1916. Death Location- France & Flanders. Enlistment Location- Durham. Rank- Private. Regiment- Border Regiment. Battalion- 8th Battalion. Number 14942. Type of Casualty- Killed in action. Theatre of War- Western Europe Theatre.”
His attestation form and medical form dated 1st September 1914 states: Age- 21 years and 1 month old. Height- 5 feet 6 & half inches. Weight- 138 lbs. Chest- 35 inches, expansion 2 inch. Eyes-brown. Hair- dark brown. Church of England. Occupation appears to read “Miner”? (makes sense for Durham , and it certainly is something ending in “iner” but it is not “joiner”)

His service record states:
Joined the 7th battalion at Carlisle on 1/9/14.
Posted 3rd battalion (Depot) 8./7/15
Posted 6th battalion 15/10/15 (for Gallipoli)
Posted 3rd battalion (Depot) 8/12/15 ( Note a lot of men were evacuated "unfit" - sickness e.g. dysentery etc, at this time. From war diary: 8/12/15- 1 man wounded 6 men evacuated unfit,9/12/15- 1 man wounded 41 men evacuated unfit,10/12/15- 1 man wounded 4 men evacuated unfit, 11/12/15- 24 men evacuated unfit,12/12/15- 58 men evacuated unfit. I guess he may have been one of those affected and was transferred to the 3rd Depot battalion to recover)
Absence 6/2/16- 19/2/16 forfeits pay
Posted 8th battalion 2/6/16
Killed in action 3-5/7/16

His service with 6th Bn in Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (i.e. Gallipoli) between 15/10/15 - 7/12/15 qualified him for the 1914-15 Star. He also received the British War Medal and Victory Medal.

Interestingly his Medal Index Card lists him as 6th Bn (because that was who he was with when qualified for the first medal i.e. the 1914-15 Star), and date of death as 3/7/16.
His service docs states he died 3rd to 5th July 1916,
Finally, CWGC list him as dying on 5th July.
As I said on the previous posting, I reckon he died serving with the 8th Battalionat some time between the 3rd and the 5th, but the exact day was not known.

To summarise - your great uncle survived the action at Gallipoli only to die during the first week of the Battle of the Somme. In less than two years he saw service in the 3rd,6th,7th,& 8th battalions of The Border Regiment.

Hope this fills in some gaps, Regards Paul
Attachments
n s walton attest.jpg
Attestation form 1st Sept 1914 joining 7th Bn
NS Walton medal card.jpg
Medal Index Card states 6th Bn
Walton CWGC entry.jpg
CWGC entry sates died with 8th Bn
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Re: Tracing Private N.S Walton

Postby plbramham » Mon Mar 25, 2013 11:14 am

Just thought , If you want to know what he was doing in 1915 with the 6th Bn at Gallipoli click on these links to see transcripts I’ve made from their war diaries:

6th Bn BORDER REGIMENT war diary, Gallipoli part 1- viewtopic.php?f=63&t=2509

6th Bn BORDER REGIMENT war diary, Gallipoli part 2- viewtopic.php?f=63&t=2510

Cheers Paul
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Re: Tracing Private N.S Walton

Postby petertheelder » Tue Mar 26, 2013 3:08 am

Hi Andy, Welcome to the forum.
Further to the posts from Paul and Spike, my grandmother's brother Serjeant Walter Dixon (service No 15122) also disappeared in the 8th Border attack on the Liepzig Salient on 3rd July 1916. His date of death is reported as July 3 or July 5 in different sources.
On the Kendal Pals website (see Spike's post above), there is a write up I put together from my research into my Greatuncle. I was able to figure out where the 8th Battalion made their attack along with the 11th Cheshires and the 2nd South Lancs on the morning of July 3,1916. I put together a plan showing where the attack took place just east of Authuille and south of Thiepval, not far from the Memorial to the Missing. About 147 men of the 8th Borders died in the attack of which only 31 have a known grave in one of 11 cemeteries. The other 116 men including Nathaniel Walton are part of the Missing honoured on the Thiepval Memorial. Their remains are probably part of the battlefield as fighting raged over the area of the attack for several weeks in 1916, and again later in the war.
As well as the overlay of the trenches and the line of attack on a Google map base, I have some files of trench maps, excerpts from war diaries of the two other battalions, and other bits and pieces which might interest you.
Drop me a personal message with your email address if you would like any of my info.
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Re: Tracing Private N.S Walton

Postby bimble7116 » Tue Mar 26, 2013 11:37 pm

Guys - Paul, Spike and Peter - thank you so very much for your fantastic information. You guys have provided me with many times more stuff than I expected from this slightly tentative enquiry.

I'm new to this and feeling my way with it - but I have done a lot of WW1 reading out of natural interest - and been very frustrated by the tactics employed and the scale of the slaughter. I only learned about Nathaniel's loss about 6 or so years ago.....as it had always been something of an avoided subject.

How I wish I'd known years earlier as relatives who passed many years ago could have told me much - with perhaps some gentle, empathetic asking.

My hunger to know more is pretty constant, so I'm delighted to have discovered this forum. I have visited Flanders and Picardy a couple of times and know most of the key areas, Menin Gate, Thiepval, Tyne Cott, Vimy etc etc. I plan to keep returning there - it's almost a calling.

My next visit to Thiepval will be a bit more special as I know Nathaniel is there somewhere and can find his name on the memorial. My great Grandmother, Nathaniel's sister was quite a character, she had very high standards and was affectionately known within the family as a bit of a snob - but she also had spirit and a wicked sense of humour which showed itself from time to time. She was very stoical and didn't complain even when her health deteriorated towards the end of her life. She nursed my great Grandfather for years, caring for him at home after he was struck down with early onset dementia and needed constant care.

I suspect that Nathaniel would have had similar traits - and will choose to believe that as the thwarted memory of someone I would have loved to have met. He was short of his 23rd birthday when he died - as far as I know he was unmarried. Another young lad, one of hundreds of thousands slaughtered in the hell of a war where human life was so expendable.

Thanks again fellas, I look forward to educating myself much more.

Regards

Andy H
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