ANTHONY WALSH

Private 17213, 2nd Battalion King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry

Killed in Action 14 April 1917 aged 29

No Known Grave Commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France

Son of Michael and Mary Walsh

Lived 16, Royle Fold, Heckmondwike


Anthony’s father Michael Walsh was originally from County Sligo, Ireland.  On 26 January 1885 he married Mary Gallagher from County Mayo at St Patrick’s Church Heckmondwike (later named Church of the Holy Spirit, Cemetery Road).  Their eldest son Thomas was born in 1886 and by 1891 the family of Michael; Mary; Thomas; Anthony aged 4; Kate aged 2 and new born Mary lived in Royle Fold, Heckmondwike with 5 adult lodgers.  Still in Royle Fold in 1901, a son Martin then aged 2 had been added to the family, with just one boarder and one visitor at that address at census time.  The 1911 census shows 5 Walsh family members and 2 boarders living at 16 Royle Fold.

But of the 8 children born to the Walsh parents just 3 were still living by 1911: sons Thomas; Anthony and Martin.  We know that sadly, both Thomas and Anthony were killed in the War by 1917 and the evidence available at this point suggests that the youngest son Martin had died in 1915 aged around 16.

Anthony volunteered early in the war and arrived in France on 11 September 1915.  The local newspaper reported that he had returned to England with septic poisoning towards the end of 1915.  After convalescing and leave he returned to France early in 1917.  The war diary records that at 9am on 9 April 1917 the Battalion received orders to take part in the assault on the remains of the German held village of Fayet Northwest of St Quentin, France.  But there was concern that the soldiers were becoming exhausted by exposure to the ‘abominable’ weather, so that day they had to march in snow from 7:45pm to 11pm to billets near Auroir.  The Battalion rested there and had a change of clothes on 10 April 1917.  At 9pm on 13 April 1917 the Battalion marched for 3½ hours to their position in the trenches ready for the assault at zero hour of 4:15am on 14 April 1917.  Heavy fighting lasted throughout the day.  The war diary records high losses amongst the officers, ‘other ranks’ are not shown but Anthony was killed that day.  The Battalion held the new line until relieved at 9:30pm on 15 April 1917.  Anthony’s body was not recovered or identified and he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial
, Pier and Face 11C and 12A.

Anthony had £7 16s outstanding in pay and allowances and that sum was sent to his mother Mary on 21 November 1917.  A War Grant of £12 was sent in 1919.  Anthony was awarded the 1915 Star the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

His brother Thomas was killed on 3 May 1917 whilst serving with the West Riding Regiment.
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