On this day in 1917, Walter Tucker (1876-1917) died of wounds sustained on the blackest day of the Great War for the 8th and 9th Battalions of the Devonshire Regiment.
He lost his life after an attack at Gheluvelt in Flanders on October 26, 1917 in the Third Battle of Ypres.
Walter was among more than 500 officers and men of the two battalions killed or wounded in the offensive.
They had suffered devastating casualties in previous battles – at Loos, the Somme and Ginchy.
But their losses as Gheluvelt were the worst of the war.
Walter first enlisted in the Devonshire Regiment in 1894 when he was 18. He joined on the same day as his younger brother Samuel
They served in India together and in South Africa in the 1st Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment in the Second Boer War.
Walter fought in the Battle of Elandslaagte in October 1899 in which the Boers were defeated after the 1st Devons launched a courageous bayonet charge amid fierce rifle and shell fire.
He and Samuel helped to defend Ladysmith during the 118-day siege between November 1899 and February 1900.
Walter volunteered to serve in the Great War, enlisting in the 9th Devons in Abertillery, Wales.
He went to France as a private on December 9, 1915 and fought on the Somme and at Ginchy in 1916 before losing his life in the Third Battle of Ypres.
Walter, who was 40 when he died, is among 35,000 soldiers commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial in Belgium.
He is also remembered on the Abertillery War Memorial in Wales where he worked as a coal miner before going to war.
Born in Thelbridge in 1876, Walter was living with his family in Witheridge in 1881 and worked for farmer James Partridge at Upcott, Thelbridge in 1891. He married Frances Mogford (1877-1943) in 1904 in Cardiff. In 1911, he was working as a miner in Cwmtillery, Monmouthshire, Wales.
Walter’s sister Dinah Tucker (1874-1958) married John Roberts (1875-1951) in 1897 in the Tiverton district. John was the son of James Roberts (1832-1898) and Mary Ann Alford (1836-1907). James was a brother of John Roberts (1829-1919), my great-great grandfather who had 30 grandsons serving in the Great War.
Tyne Cot Memorial on which Walter is remembered. Pictured on August 5, 2014 by Gary Blakeley (CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons). https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tyne_Cot_Commonwealth_War_Graves_Cemetery.jpg