Private Walter Edward Woodward was killed in action on 22nd February 1917, serving with the 11th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Born in Knowle in 1878, he was baptised at Knowle parish church on 5th May 1878 and was the second of the six children of parents William Wyatt Woodward (a coachman) and Louisa (née Allsop), who had married in 1875. Walter had an older brother, William Thomas (1877-1934) and four younger siblings: Charles Frederick (born 1879); Edith Mary (1882-1952); Grace Louisa (1884-1947) and Ernest John (1885-1963).
Before joining the Army, Walter spent all his life in the area around Barston and Catherine-de-Barnes. He lived in the family home in Barston until at least 1891. His father, William, died in Barston in 1900 and, by 1901, the family was scattered. 24-year-old William was working as a gardener and boarding in Eastcote with the family of John Morriss, a shepherd. 23-year-old Walter (a house painter) and his younger brother, 21-year-old groom, Charles, were lodging in Eastcote with the family of Thomas Smith, blacksmith. 15-year-old Ernest was working as a groom, and boarding in Barston with the family of Albert Harris, a waggoner on a farm. The two girls, Edith (19) and Grace (17, a domestic servant), were living in Coventry with their mother Louisa. All three were recorded with the surname Wyatt, which the whole family had also used on the 1891 census.
In 1904, Walter married Ethel May Beesley at Immanuel Church, Broad Street, Birmingham. The couple set up home in Catherine-de-Barnes and were recorded in Lugtrout Lane in 1911 with their three children, Irene May (born 1905), Victor Edward (1908-1990), and Roma Louisa (1910-1983). There were two more sons, Geoffrey William (1912-1996) and Maurice Walter (1914-1976). When Walter was killed in 1917, his widow was left with five children aged 3-12.
Walter has no known grave and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial. He is also commemorated locally on the Hampton-in-Arden war memorial.
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Heritage & Local Studies Librarian
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