Walter Letts

Letts WalterKilled In Action

In 1901 the Letts family were living on The Green, West Haddon. The family comprised the Head of the Household William Scott Letts, a Bootmaker; his wife Hannah; four sons, two daughters and a grand-daughter. All but the grand-daughter had been born in Long Buckby. Walter was the youngest son having been born on 7/1/1894.

Walter volunteered for active service and enlisted on 10/9/1915. He was killed in action on 17/9/1918.

The Northampton Mercury dated 7/7/1916 reported that Walter had been wounded in action. No further details are available.

The Mercury dated 11/10/1918 reported his death.

An entry in De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour, 1914-1919 has the following entry:

LETTS, WALTER, Private, No 20384, 7th (Service) Battn. the Northamptonshire Regt. ysl. s. of William Letts of West Haddon, by his wife, Hannah (-) Long Buckby Co Northampton, 7 Jan.1894; educ West Haddon School; volunteered for active service and enlisted in the Northamptonshire Regiment 10 Sept. 1915; served with the Egyptian Expeditionary Force in Palestine for over a year, and was killed in action 17 Sept. 1918 at Kaft Arma aged 24. Buried in a cemetery behind the lines. His Commanding Officer wrote; “He will be greatly missed by all, he was such a cheery lad and a very willing one …… he was always cheerful under the most trying circumstances …. Your son died fighting for the great cause, like a soldier and an Englishman”

(Jim Blakey 14th November, 2015)


Information added by Anthony Osborne January 2017

Walter Letts’ medal roll entry shows him with 7th Battalion initially.
20384 Pte. W Letts was reported as wounded as a Private in a Casualty List in the Times of 7-7-1916.

Circumstantially this seems to equates to the tour of duty in the trenches at Wulverghem that the 7th Battalion did during the period from the 11th to 17th June 1916. The tour was relatively quiet apart from the 17th when the battalion was machine gunned, gassed and then heavily shelled….

I would also put his date of enlistment into the Northamptons on about 13th August 1915, rather than the date shown on the De Ruvigny’s Roll entry.

I suspect he was drafted out to Egypt following the 1/4th Battalion’s losses on 19th April 1917 at the 2nd Battle of Gaza.

The casualty list was published on 7th July 1916. There was a delay of about 3 to 4 weeks between a man being wounded and his wounding being published in the official casualty lists in the Times and other daily newspapers (the delay was about a week for officers). I have looked at service records and newspaper reports of those in the list and by tracking others in the list it suggests that the casualty list was compiled during/after the tour of duty from 11th to 17th June 1916 and then sent back to Base.

Anthony Osborne
Jan 2017