Service Number 39828
Battalion 1st Garrison Battalion
Regiment Yorkshire Regiment
Died: 4th November 1918
Commemorated at: Karachi 1918 War Memorial, Pakistan
Walter Bootland was born in Collingham on the 7th October 1875, the third of nine children of William and Elizabeth Bootland and the eldest son. Walter married Christiana Westoby on the 1st September 1900 in the Weslyan Chapel in Wetherby, but by the census date in 1911, Walter and Christina were living at 12 Standard Terrace, Nothallerton with their children Edward, Eric Adkin and Winifred, as well as Walter's sister-in-law, Minna Westoby. At the start of the war we think Walter was living in Bridlington. A fourth child, Raymond, just missed appearing on the 1911 census, being born on the 27th April, 25 days after census day.
Walter served first in the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry but later transferred to the 1st Garrison Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment. We do not know exactly when Walter joined this battalion, but it was raised around Pontefract in October 1915 and sailed to Bombay on Christmas Eve 1915. The battalion's job was to garrison and protect Britain's interests in its colony in India. At the time of the armistice in November 1918 the battalion was stationed at Sialkot in the Punjab.
In 1917, while Walter was serving in India, his eldest son, Edward, won a prestigious award, reported in The Hull Daily Mail:
Unfortunately, just four months later, the newspaper was reporting a much sadder occurrence:
In August 1918, the family suffered a further shock when Walter's younger brother, Arthur, was killed in action serving in France.
However further tragedy was still to strike. In 1918, Walter died at Campbellpore, India of influenza on the 4th November 1918, one week before the war ended. He was the last of the Collingham men to lose their lives in the Great War. 1918 flu pandemic in India was the outbreak of an unusually deadly influenza pandemic in India between 1918–1920 as a part of the worldwide Spanish flu pandemic. Also referred to as the Bombay Influenza or the Bombay Fever in India, the pandemic is believed to have killed up to 17 – 18 million people in the country, the most among all countries.
According to the Commonwealth War Grave Commission (CWGC), Walter is buried in grave N4 in Campbellpore Cemetery. Campbellpore (or Campbellpur) now lies in Pakistan and in 1978 changed its name to Attock. The CWGC has found it impossible to adequately maintain a number of cemeteries in this region, including Campbellpore, and Walter is therefore commemorated on the Karachi War Memorial. The 1914-1918 Memorial is located at the rear of the cemetery opposite the entrance feature and it commemorates 575 Commonwealth casualties. Initially the memorial was designed to commemorate those who served in garrisons and died in Pakistan (formerly part of India) during the 1914-1918 War and who lie buried in civil and cantonment cemeteries there, excluding those graves lying west of the river Indus who it was decided would be commemorated on the Delhi Memorial (India Gate). However, due to difficulties in adding to the Delhi Memorial (India Gate) in recent years, some casualties who are known to have been buried in sites west of the river Indus have subsequently been added to this memorial instead.
Christiana was left with her memories of her husband, Walter, and her son, Edward, but still had three children aged 15, 13 and 7, to bring up.
1911 Census. The National Archives. Class RG14 Piece 29375
First World War Medal Index Cards. The National Archives (WO372).
First World War Medal Index Rolls. The National Archives (WO329).
Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery and Burial Reports
Pension Record Cards and Ledgers. Case number 4/APW/6097
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