Private Walter Reginald Frost

Date of Birth 10 November 1889
Age at Death 18
Date of Death 13 October 1918
Service Number 46754
Military Service 1/4 Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment
Merton Address 38 Caithness Road, Mitcham
Local Memorial Mitcham War Memorial

Additional Information

Walter was born in Southend-on Sea, Essex on 10 November 1899 and lived at 2 Hutton Villas, Southchurch, Southend-on-Sea with his father Walter James, a builder’s plasterer, and his mother Catherine. Catherine died during the first quarter of 1906 and his father married a widow, Kate Alice Aldred, on 19 May 1906 at St. Lukes Church, West Norwood. By 1911 the family were living at 41 Portland Road, South Norwood with Kate’s children from her previous marriage, Walter’s brother Harold George and his half-sister Kate Grace.

By the time of Walter’s enlistment, the family were living at 38 Caithness Road, Mitcham and he was working as an Order Boy. Walter enlisted on 6 December 1917 at Whitehall a few weeks after his 18th birthday. His height is recorded as 5ft 4¾ inches and his chest 34 inches, when fully expanded. His weight was 117lbs and his vision was 6/6 for both eyes.

On 8 December Walter was posted to the 53rd Young Soldiers Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment, Aldershot. This was basically a training battalion for young soldiers, 18-19 years of age. After completing his basic training he was transferred, on 4 April 1918, to the 51st (Graduated Battalion) Royal Sussex Regiment at Cromer. It was in this battalion that Walter was prepared for transfer to front line duties. He was then transferred to No.40 Infantry Base Depot, BEF, which was at Etaples in France, south of Boulogne arriving on 16 May 1918. He was again transferred, to the York & Lancaster Regiment and posted to their 1/4 Battalion (Hallamshire) on 18 May 1918.

Walter was killed in action just one month before the end of the war, on 13 October 1918, during "The Pursuit to the Selle" at Haspres Coppice - he was just 18 years of age.

During the final Allied Advance to Victory, known as the Hundred Days Offensive, the Hallamshires were ordered on 13 October to reach the line of the river Selle, which was supposedly undefended on the western bank. They advanced across open ground without artillery support to find strongly defended enemy positions. They achieved their objective but with only 4 officers and 240 men present of the 20 officers and 600 men who had started the advance.

Walter is remembered on the Mitcham War Memorial and is buried in York Cemetery, Haspres, France. His grave is marked with a Cross, and the headstone reads “Gone but not Forgotten”. The cemetery contains 137 Commonwealth burials of the First World War and ten German graves. All of the burials date from the period 13 - 26 October 1918.

Walter was entitled to the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.


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