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Quorn WW1 Roll of Honour - Walter Albert Gartshore

Died 1st September 1916, aged 24
Bienvillers, France

Family history

George Gartshore was the son of Edwin and Sarah Gartshore of 88 Barrow Road (see photograph below) and was one of nine children. The Gartshores were farriers and blacksmiths, and Walter’s grandfather had moved to Quorn in 1860 as farrier for the Earl of Stamford and the Quorn Hunt. Edwin had been a farrier in the Leicestershire Yeomanry.

Army service
Walter was a regular soldier and had joined the 5th Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment in January 1910 aged 17 years and 8 months. At that time he was recorded as just 5 feet 4 inches with a chest measurement of 31 inches.

Killed in action
It is plain from what was written about Walter after his death that he was very highly thought of. He was only 24 when he died, and had recently been promoted to Sergeant. The following article appeared in the Loughborough Monitor on 21st September 1916:
”Quorn soldier killed 1916 - C.O.'s appreciative tribute
Official news was received on Saturday by the parents (Mr and Mrs Gartshore, Mayfield Villa, Barrow Road, Quorn), of Sergt. A. Walter Gartshore, of the Leicestershire Regiment, that he had been killed in action on 1st September. The news had been unofficially broken to the bereaved father and mother by officers and comrades in his battalion.

Young Gartshore, who was 24 years of age, was greatly respected in Quorn, and was regarded as one of the finest and pluckiest young men who had left the village to fight for their King and country. He was one of those young men who, before the war cloud loomed on the horizon, had performed the patriotic duty of qualifying himself for the defence of his country, for he had early joined the Territorials and made himself an efficient soldier. He worked before the war for the Brush Electrical Engineering Co. at their Falcon Works in Loughborough.

In sending to the parents his Battalion Commanding Officer writes: - "We have lost a really good sergeant, and, moreover, a really good man. He was devoted to his duty and was always at work. He was indeed a good example to his men. They followed him and they trusted him. So long as I have known him I can state that his life has been perfect, and we know, too, that you have lost a good son. Our hearts go out to you and Mrs Gartshore and all yours in this trouble. We know that you as parents have given of your very best for your country's sake."

The Chaplain and the Sergeant-Major of the battalion have also written, sending their sincere condolences with Mr and Mrs Gartshore on behalf of all the members of his platoon. "We cannot speak too highly," they write, "of your son's devotion to duty, and of the high esteem in which he was held by everyone".

One of his fellow-sergeants wrote: "Your son Walter, our platoon sergeant was killed yesterday afternoon whilst he was working with some of the platoon. He was one of the finest men you could wish for; he would never send a man where he would not go himself, and he would go without his rations rather than let any of his men go short; and he would give away his last fag. He was most popular with the whole company".

In the same battalion as Walter, was his friend and neighbour from Barrow Road, Private Hallam. Walter was the only man to die in the skirmish that day and after they had buried him, Private Hallam made a sketch of the grave. He later brought the drawing home and showed it to Walter’s mother.

Remembering Walter
A memorial service for Walter was held in Quorn Parish Church on Saturday afternoon, 7th October 1916. The Loughborough Echo for 13th October reported that four generations of his family attended and two chief officers of the local branch of the Ancient Order of Foresters. In the evening a muffled peal was rung on the bells.

A year after Walter’s death, his two younger sisters put a memoriam notice in the Loughborough Echo:

“GARTSHORE – In loving memory of Sergt Walter Albert Gartshore, Leicestershire Regt, killed in action, September 1st 1916.
His life is past, his work is done,
And he is fully blessed;
He fought the fight, the victory won,
And entered into rest.
But the hardest part is yet to come, when the heroes all return,
And we miss amongst the cheering crowd, the face of our dear brother.
From Lucy and Dorothy”

1) This card belongs to the Gartshore family and was issued by the ‘Workers Union’ in memory of this brave young man.
2) A modern photograph of Mayfield Cottages on Barrow Road. No 88 on the right was the home of the Gartshore family.

 view larger image
 Submitted on: 2020-01-13
 Submitted by: Sue Templeman with many thanks to George Gartshore for photographs and information
 Artefact ID: 2313
 Artefact URL: www.quornmuseum.com/display.php?id=2313
 Print: View artefact in printer-friendly page or just on its own (new browser tab).

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