Quorn WW1 Roll of Honour - Walter Fletcher
Died 25th September 1918, aged 34
Sorel-le-Grand, the Somme, France
Walter’s parents, Joseph and Mary Fletcher, had moved to Quorn shortly after their marriage in the early 1870s. They had 15 children, although only 12 survived their childhood. Life was hard, but the Fletchers were luckier than many, as Joseph had a steady job working at Mountsorrel Quarry. The family lived on Nursery Lane, in a cottage that appears to have been a few houses away from the Church and next to Holly Cottage.
Leaving school and getting married
When Walter left school he went to work at Wright’s factory, then at the age of 23, in 1908, he married Ethel West from Barrow upon Soar. A year previously, one of his elder brothers (Joseph), had married Ethel’s eldest sister Phoebe, so this may be how they got to know each other. Walter and Ethel lived on Station Road at what is now part of number 80, but by 1910, when they had their first baby, they were living on Castledine Street. Baby Walter, who was named after his father, was followed by a brother, Herbert in October 1913.
Joining up and war service
When war broke out Walter was one of the many men who went off to Loughborough and enlisted into the Leicestershire Regiment. It seems likely that at some point Walter was wounded, because he was transferred to the Northumberland Fusiliers, and transfers were usually made after a period of hospitalisation, when the soldier’s original regiment had moved on. It was as the war was drawing to a close that Walter was killed in action at Sorel-le-Grand, on the Somme in France on 25th September 1918.
Ethel leaves England
Ethel was left with two small boys to bring up and decided that her future no longer lay in England. On 15th March 1919, just six months after Walter’s death, she boarded the SS Metagama in Liverpool, bound for Canada. Many people were emigrating at that time and Ethel was joining her sister Phoebe and brother-in-law Joseph Fletcher, who had emigrated before the war. Shortly after arriving she married Allan Richard Morrison from Ontario and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission records Walter’s wife as ‘Mrs Ethel Morrison (formerly Fletcher) of Ettington, Saskatchewan, Canada’.
During July 2014, contact was made with a descendent of Joseph and Phoebe Fletcher in Canada, and it was discovered that a grandson of Ethel’s, from her second marriage to Allan Richard Morrison, was the Managing Director of a large house building company, Morrison Homes, based in Calgary and Edmonton. There are still family members in charge of the firm today.
1) A modern photograph of 80 Station Road, next to Nursery Lane.
2) An extract from shipping records, SS Metagama, March 1919, showing ‘Mrs E Fletcher’ and sons Walter and Herbert sailing from Liverpool for Canada. The writing will be more legible if you click ‘Enlarge’, below the image.