Valerie Slater of Coverdale provided this story about her grandmother, Catherine Walls – a happy and unusual tale wherein all 5 of her sons survived the Great War.
In 1883, Catherine Louisa Polden, then living in Dorset set eyes on George Walls for the first time. It was love at first sight. George was twenty years older than Catherine and arranged the wedding with all haste – the marriage by licence took place at Hampreston near Wimborne.
Catherine left the county of her birth, never to return. After journeying north, Catherine and George made their home in Carlton at Coverdale Cottage. The couple had three daughters and five sons born between 1886 and 1898. George died in 1908 so Catherine had to face the anxious war years supported by her daughters. She was a religious woman, so her faith combined with her respected and busy life as unofficial midwife in the village helped her to get through. Her prayers were answered.
William Walls (born 1898) served in the Machine Gun Corps; George (born 1889) was with 21st Kings Royal Rifles, being wounded by shrapnel at the Battle of Flers-Courcelet on 17 September 1916; Alfred (born 1891) served in the Army Service Corps and then the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, he was hospitalised twice (the second occasion being the result of a gas attack); Joe (born 1896) enlisted with the King’s Royal Rifle Corps with his brother Dick. Joe was discharged from the army in November of 1916 due to ill health, and is likely to have returned home to Carlton. Dick (born 1892), who signed up in December 1915 was in the 21st King’s Royal Rifles and was wounded by gunshot to his right hand which entitled him to a pension of 5/-6d from March of 1919. Joe and Dick’s KRRC service numbers were consecutive (C/12882 and C/12884) as they went to war together.
Despite injury, all five brothers returned from the Great War.
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