Private Walter Gilks

Date of Birth c. 1899
Age at Death 19
Date of Death 13 April 1918
Service Number 25392
Military Service 1st Battalion, Royal West Surrey Regiment
Merton Address 12 Heaton Road, Mitcham
Local Memorial Mitcham War Memorial

Additional Information

Walter was born in Wandsworth between January and March 1899. He was baptised at St. Anne’s Church in Wandsworth. His father’s occupation at the time was recorded as an Iron Worker. His parents Thomas and Ellen Jessie Duffield, had married in 1885 in Battersea. The 1901 Census records Walter aged 2, living with his father Thomas, a general labourer, his mother Ellen and siblings, Percival William (aged 10), Ellen (8) and Thomas (6) at 22 Coimbra Road, Wandsworth. The road was later renamed Baylin Road. By 1911 the family had moved to 3 Rostella Road, Tooting and two more siblings had been added to the family, Ada and Harry. This Census also records that Ellen had nine children, and that sadly four of her children had died in infancy. By 1918, the family had moved again to 12 Heaton Road, Gorringe Park, Mitcham.

Walter enlisted in Wimbledon with the 1st Battalion, The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment). The regiment fought in the fourth Battle of Ypres, Belgium (The Battle of Bailleul). Walter was wounded and later died of his wounds on 13th April 1918. He is buried in the Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Poperinge, Ypres Salient Battlefields, Belgium. The cemetery is south of Dunkirk, close to the border with France.

Walter is commemorated on the Mitcham War Memorial. He was entitled to the Victory Medal and the British War Medal.

His mother Ellen, as sole legitimate heir, received the sum of £10.5.2, plus an additional £4.00 War Gratuity owing from his pay. Ellen lived to the ripe old age of 91, and died in 1957. His sister Ada, married Edward Wignall in Christ Church, Mitcham, and died aged 80 in 1983. His brother Harry enlisted in 1923 with the East Surrey Regiment, and died in 1990 aged 82.


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