On this day in 1917, Walter Heard (1882-1917) was killed in the Great War – in an attack on German positions at Ecoust-St Mein in France.
Walter, who was 35, was a private in the 9th (Service) Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment.
His death on April 2, 1917 was announced 18 days later in The Western Times.
The newspaper said he had completed ‘several months’ service’ and was ‘much respected’.
A memorial service for Walter – who left a widow and four children – was held in Winkleigh Parish Church on April 22, 1917.
A large congregation attended, and a ‘peal’ of honour was rung after the service.
Walter was listed in a Devonshire Regiment Roll of Honour in The Western Times on May 5, 1917.
A year after his death, his widow – Ellen – published a tribute to Walter in The Exeter and Plymouth Gazette.
It read: ‘Out of the stress of doing, into the peace of the done’. Walter’s body was never found.
He is remembered on the Arras Memorial, which commemorates 35,000 British and Allied soldiers with no known grave, and on Winkleigh War Memorial.
Born in 1882 in Dolton, Devon, Walter was the son of blacksmith Robert Heard (1852-1941) and Betsy Newcombe Friend (1849-1917), who ran a grocer’s shop in Dolton. He married Ellen Turner (1874-1955) on August 28, 1904 in the Torrington registration district. They for many years lived at Seckington Lodge, Winkleigh.
Walter’s son, Ernest Robert Heard (1906-1987) married Dora Roberts (1917- 2004), the daughter of Walter Roberts (1881-1958) and Emily Laura Landick (1886-1949). Walter Roberts was the son of Daniel Roberts (1856-1936) and Leah Ann Stevens (1857-1930). Daniel was one of 15 children of John Roberts (1829-1919), my great-great grandfather, who had 30 grandsons serving in the Great War.
Arras Memorial, on which Walter is remembered, and Fauberg-D’Amiens Cemetery. Photographed on September 7, 2010 by Carcharoth (Commons) – CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Arras_Memorial_and_Fauberg-D%27Amiens_Cemetery_14.JPG