WALTER SLEIGHT

6198 Private, 1st Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment

Walter's memorial disc

his memorial plaque - photo from Linda Hempsall, great granddaughter of his brother Amos

killed in action 26th August 1914 aged 31


Walter was born in Scotton in the first months of 1883 and was the son of William Day and Mary (nee Green).  His older brothers and sisters were Mary Jane (died 1898), Frederick, Emily and Herbert and he had a younger brother named Amos.

The family surname is pronounced 'Slight'.
 

His father was an agricultural labourer and the family lived at Scotterwood Lodge.  For a time they resided at Cote Houses and, after his mother died in 1899, Walter lived on West Street with Amos and their father.

The two brothers moved to Lincoln where their older brother Herbert was living.

He enlisted into the Army at Lincoln (his service number suggests this was early in the 1900ā€™s) and was sent to the regimental base at Portsmouth.

There were 2 men named Walter Sleight serving in the Lincolnshire Regiment.  An Army Old Comrades Association annual report shows a Walter Sleight donating in 1908 and 1909.  This man was with 'E' Company serving at Kamptee in the Central Provinces, India.  In 1910 the battalion moved to Aden and eventually returned to bases at Portsmouth in 1912.

Scotter's Walter Sleight may have finished his enlistment term, returning to Lincoln to become a reservist with either the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion or the 4th (Territorial) Battalion.

The 1911 census lists him as single, working as a machine moulder, living with Amos and his family at 5 Carlton Street.

When war was declared on 4th August 1914 a Walter Sleight was with 'A' Company of the 1st Lincolnshire Regiment.  At 6pm they received orders to mobilise and were among the 120,000 men of the original British Expeditionary Force.  They formed part of II Corps, 3rd Division, 9th Brigade.

On 8th August 543 mobilised reservists joined from the depot at Lincoln where they had been fitted out with clothing and equipment.  Several days were spent in strenuous training for overseas service and on the morning of the 13th they marched out of Victoria Barracks (very close to Amos's home) and went by train to Southampton.

They set sail on the Union Castle liner 'SS Norman' not knowing their destination. By 2:30am on the 14th they arrived at Le Harve and disembarked immediately.  Companies formed up in a large shed and as the passed through a French civilian served them coffee.

Less than 2 weeks later Walter would be one of the first casualties of the Great War.

At 10am they marched from the docks through the town and up the hill,  The hot sun beat down on them as they undertook a gruelling 6 mile march over rough roads.  They reached a plateau and sheltered in an orchard.  That night a violent thunderstorm broke and it rained all the next day as they marched to a railway station.

At each halt citizens gave them gifts of chocolates, flowers and handkerchiefs.  They reached Landrecies at 8pm on 16th August and billeted in Dupleix Barracks.  Next day they marched to Noyelles and then on the 20th to billets in Leval.

They moved to the left flank of the French Army and defended the Mons to Cuesmes road occupying houses, digging trenches and erecting barricades across the road.

On 22nd August the first skirmishes between the BEF and the enemy took place.  As the German infantry approached the Lincolnshire's opened fire with rifles and machine guns but were forced back with heavy casualties.

The battle for Mons took place on 23rd and 24th and the Allies encountered overwhelming German forces and were forced to withdraw.

On 26th August the Battle of Le Cateau began as part of the retreat from Mons.  It was said of that day:-

 'through the course of the entire war, never were British troops as heavily outnumbered'

His battalion were in the trenches until 16:00 when they were ordered to retire.  He and 2 others were killed during this operation.

 

Walter sleight

Walter's gravestone

 

Private Walter Sleight is buried at Troisvilles Communal Cemetery in northern France.
 

The top of his stone states:-

   'Known to be buried  
 
   in this cemetery'

and the base is inscribed:-

   'Their glory shall not 
 
   be blotted out'

Troisvilles communal cemetery

Troisvilles Communal Cemetery

 

 

 

His gravestone is the middle of the three back left although his remains could be in anywhere in this plot.

 


 

His nephew, Frederick Wray was also killed (see other Great War casualties) and Amos also served (see Great War servicemen not listed)