Walter was born in Wickmere, Norfolk in 1879. He was one of seven children. His parents were Walter Thomas and Emma (nee Newstead) Bell. His brothers and sisters were
Blanche born 1877
George born 1882
Anna May born 1884 (died the same year)
Beatrice born 1886
Herbert born 1889
Rising Ernest born 1896
Blanche and Walter were born before their parents were married. They were christened in Wickmere, Wollerton. Walter was baptised on 3 August 1879 and his mother was Emma Newstead.
Emma married Walter Thomas Bell in 1881. Before her marriage Emma lived with her parents John and Sophia Newstead in Wickmere with her two children Blanche and Walter. They took their father’s name after the marriage.
Walter continued to live with his grandparents and in 1891 aged 11 years old he was living with them at The Green, Wickmere. Blanche was living with her parents.
In 1901 the family were living at Mill House, Blickling, Norfolk and Walter was working as a farm servant. By 1911 the family had moved to live at Woodhouse Farm, Saxlingham Thorpe.
Walter did not move with them but lived with his 94 year old paternal grandmother, Mary Ann Bell at Mill House, Itteringham, Aylsham. His widowed Aunt also lived at the same address. He worked as a carter for the mill.
When he enlisted on 16 April 1915 he gave his address as Woodhouse Farm, Saxlingham Nethergate and his occupation as horseman. He initially joined the Royal Veterinary Corps, his service number being SE 6415. However he transferred to the Royal Field Artillery on 2 October 1916 and was a driver. His service number was 186973.
When he enlisted he was almost 36 years old. He was single, 5 feet inches tall and weighed 125lbs with a 36 inch chest. His physical development was described as good.
He left England from Southampton 25 October 1915 arriving at Le Havre the next day. He remained in France until 23 September 1916 when he was sent back to England. He transferred to a different regiment and remained in England until 16 March 1917.
He then was in France until 10 February 1919 apart from a fortnight’s leave from 10 to 24 September 1918, when he came back to England via Boulogne.
After being demobbed he lived at his parents’ home at Woodhouse Farm.
He died in Saxlingham on 1 April 1932 and probate was granted to his mother Emma Jane Bell, who was a widow. He left £419 9s 7d.
England & Wales, Birth, marriage, death Index 1837-2005
British Army WW1 Service Records
UK Census Collection
England & Wales, National Probate Calendar 1858-1995
Absent Voters List, Saxlingham Nethergate 1918-1920
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