Pte Walter Garfitt, 1/5th Battalion, Duke of Wellington's Regiment
Walter Garfitt was born in December 1895 to West and Sarah Garfitt. He was educated at St Saviour's Boys' School in Ravensthorpe and at Mirfield Grammar School; before the war he worked as a clerk at Howroyd and Oldroyd's chemical works at Tanhouse Street, Ravensthorpe.
Walter enlisted in January 1915 and he arrived in France with the 1/5th Battalion Duke of Wellington's Regiment in April 1915. When, in December 1915, the battalion (as part of the 49th (West Riding) Division) was attacked whilst stationed on the canal bank at Ypres, Walter, although wounded in the leg by a grenade splinter, refused to leave his post until reinforcements arrived.
He wrote at the time from hospital in Leicester to his parents at 4 Dearnley Street, Ravensthorpe:
I am wounded in the right leg but it is not anything to worry about as I don't think it shall be long before I am well again. It happened on Wednesday [either 8 or 15 December 1915] and I have been travelling practically all the while. The hospitals are a real treat, the nurses are fine and there is plenty of good stuff to eat. I was throwing bombs at the Germans, and of course they were throwing them back and I got a piece in the leg.
After recovering from this wound, Walter rejoined his battalion. His battalion went "over the top" for the first time in the war on 3 September 1916 in an attack on a position called the Pope's Nose during the Battle of the Somme. Walter was seriously injured in this attack and died two days later.
Walter's father received a letter from Second Lieutenant Charles Floyd dated 9 September expressing his regrets that Walter had died from his wounds on 5 September. Walter's personal effects were returned the same day by the Company Quartermaster Sergeant.
Aged 20 years, Walter was buried at Forceville, the village from which the battalion marched on 2 September to take part in the attack. Forceville Communal Cemetery Extension was one of the first three permanent cemeteries to be constructed by the (then) Imperial War Graves Commission after the war. It contains 304 British graves.
Research by David Tattersfield, WFA Development Trustee