Walter Simpson, Private 203263, 3rd/5th Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers
Killed in action 22nd August 1917 in Belgium, aged 19
Walter Algernon Simpson was born in Macclesfield on 16 December 1897, the son of Anchorite (nee Hobson) and Clarence Simpson. In 1901, three-year-old Walter was living at 76 Newton St with his parents and brothers Arthur (1), and an un-named one-month-old baby, later named Albert.
By 1911 Walter’s father had died; the family had moved to 13 Chapel Street, south Macclesfield and included two girls: Anchorite (written as Anker Wright on the census form by the six-year-old, who apparently filled in the whole form herself) and Ena, aged five.
Walter’s death was reported in the Macclesfield Advertiser on 5 October 1917:
PRIVATE W SIMPSON – Official intimation is to hand of the death in action of Private W Simpson, of 49, Mill Lane, Macclesfield. He was educated at Christ Church School, and enlisted in September 1916, being drafted to France about six months later. Private G Newton, also a Macclesfield man, has written to the deceased’s mother stating that he was killed by shrapnel…
Walter’s death was also reported in the Macclesfield Times on 5 October 1917:
JOLLY AND POPULAR – PTE WALTER SIMPSON KILLED
Information has reached Mrs Hall, 94 [sic – actually 49] Mill Lane, Sutton, south Macclesfield, of the death in action of her son, Private Walter Simpson, Lancs Fusiliers. The sad news was contained in letters from the captain and a comrade. The communication from the captain stated: “I regret to inform you that your son, Pte Simpson, was killed whilst on duty. Deceased had been in my company since joining the Army, and during that time had earned the respect of every officer and man with whom he came into contact…”
Pte G Newton’s letter was as follows: “It is with deep regret that I inform you of the death of your beloved son, Walter, which happened whilst we were out with a carrying party. Having made the journey along a road which is very often shelled, we were about to take the last load when old Fritz started shelling very heavily. We had to take the best cover afforded, and your son (Jock, as he was known to all the lads) was very unfortunate in being hit in the side by a piece of shrapnel, death being instantaneous. He was always very jolly and popular with everyone, and ever willing to do a good turn… Your son was buried this morning in a British cemetery, the service being conducted by the Army chaplain. I knew your son in civil life, being a native of Macclesfield. Both of us enlisted the same day and have always been chums.”
Pte Simpson was born in Macclesfield nineteen years ago, and was educated at Christ Church day school, being also an attendant at the church. He was formerly in the employ of the Macclesfield Shoe and Slipper Co Ltd, Sunderland Street, and joined the Army twelve months ago. The deceased had been at the front six months. Mrs Hall’s husband, Driver Joe Hall, Royal Engineers, is serving in France, where he was been for seventeen months. He enlisted on the outbreak of war and at that time was employed at the quarries of Messrs Ashton and Holmes, Ltd. His brother, Pte David Hall, Cheshire Regt, was recommended for the Military Medal several months ago.
Private Walter Simpson is buried in Grave Ref. II. B. 29. of the Ramscappelle Road Military Cemetery in West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private Walter Simpson, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
Stepson of Joe Hall, who served as Driver 41284 with the Royal Engineers.
Census (England & Wales): 1901, 1911
National School Admission Registers and Log-books (Find My Past)
WWI Absent Voters Lists (FindMyPast): Macclesfield Parliamentary Division
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Lives of the First World War website
Macclesfield Times: 5 October 1917
Macclesfield Advertiser: 5 October 1917