Private Walter Castle

Walter Castle
Photo courtesy of Royston Williamson

Thank you to Lenka Cathersides for the following research.

Walter Castle was born about 1866 in Reigate to labourer James and Jane Castle.

He had a fresh complexion, grey eyes and light brown hair, with a scar on left thumb and on back of right hand. He was a member of the Church of England. His height was 5′ 2″.

During the 1881 Census, 19 year old Walter was a boarder at Black Horse Yard in Dorking, the home of William and Louisa Brooker. Also in the house were his future wife Ellen Brooker, her siblings Rebecca and Charles and another lodger. Walter was working as a carter.

Walter enlisted on 1st June 1883 in Guildford. At the time of enlistment he was working as a labourer. Walter stated that he previously served in the 3rd Battalion, the Queens Royal West Surrey Regiment. In 1883 he became part of the 2nd Battalion, the Queens Royal West Surrey Regiment as a private. From 1st June 1883 to 2nd September 1883 he served at home. From 3rd September 1883 to 3rd October 1886 Walter served in India.

On 30th May 1884, Walter obtained a Fourth Class Certificate of Education. This was lowest educational certificate which involved simple reading and the ability to complete a few easy sums at purportedly the level of an 8 year old.

He took part in the 3rd Burma War from 4th October 1886 to 9th June 1888. He was awarded the India Medal with Burma Clasps 1885-1887 and Burma Clasps 1887-1889. From 10th June 1888 to 10th February 1891, Walter served in East India and from 11th February 1891 to 31st May 1895 again at home. He was in the Army for 12 years.

In 1891, Walter was still lodging with his future wife Ellen’s parents William and Louisa at No. 2 Black Horse Yard in Dorking and was working as a general labourer.

On 25th December 1891, Walter married Ellen at St Paul’s in Dorking. At the time of their marriage Walter still lived at Black Horse Yard and he worked as a labourer. Ellen lived at 60 Orchard Road and was working as a domestic servant. Ellen was born in 1867 and baptised on 9th June 1867 at St John in Capel. By the time of their marriage Walter’s father James had died.

At the time of the 1901 Census the family lived at 11 Chalk Pit Cottages in Dorking. Walter was working as a lime plaster and Ellen was taking care of their children Lily Ethel and Walter Charles.

Lily Ethel was born on 30th July 1892 and baptised on 18th November 1892 at St Martin’s Church in Dorking. Walter Charles was born in the 3rd quarter of 1896 in Dorking.

At the time of the 1911 Census, the family moved to 2 Jubilee Terrace in Dorking. Walter was working as a coal porter, his daughter Lily as a domestic servant and son Walter as a telegraph messenger. In the 3rd quarter of 1903 Sidney George Castle was born in Dorking, the couple’s third child. The house had five rooms and two boarders: a labourer and a postman.

At the start of the First World War, Walter enrolled again, on 6th November 1914 at Dorking at the age of 48. At the time he lived with his family at 2 Jubilee Terrace. He became part of the 7th Railway Company, 5th Reserve Battalion, the Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment. His regimental number was 3776. In 1915 he was transferred into the 1st Supernumerary Company of the 2nd/5th Battalion, the Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment. His regimental number was 20268. He was a private. The family moved to 1 Jubilee Terrace in Dorking.

On 3rd December 1915, Walter was discharged from the Army being found medically unfit for further service at 335 Harrow Road NW. The medical board stated that his condition was not a result of military service, being of unknown origin and was permanent. He was in the Territorial Force for 1 year and 28 days during which time he was serving at home.

Walter Castle
Dorking Cemetery Roll of Honour
Walter Castle Personal Inscription © CWGC

Walter died little over a month later on 10th January 1916 in Guildford. He was buried on 14th January 1916 at Dorking Cemetery. His grave reference number is 13. 8526. He was 50 years old.

Born Reigate, Surrey
Lived Dorking, Surrey
Son of James and Jane Castle
Husband of Ellen Brooker of Black Horse Yard, Dorking
Father of Lilly Ethel and Walter Charles
Regiment 2nd/5th Battalion. The Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment
Number 20268
Date of Death 10th January 1916
Place of Death Guildford, Surrey
Cause of Death Unknown
Age 50
Cemetery Dorking Cemetery
Walter Castle
Walter Castle Gravestone.
Dorking Cemetery.
Photo courtesy of Royston Williamson
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