Walter Henry Nightingale

Household Battalion
Date of death 
11 April 1917
Age of death 
22 Chase Road
South Woodford
Postcode Unknown
Address source 
1911 Census
Cemetery / Memorial 

Born in 1891 at Walthamstow, son of Henry (Coal Carman) and Eliza Nightingale. 1901: Living with his family at 12 Chase Road, South Woodford. 1911: A Bank Porter on the Great Eastern Railway, living with his family at 22 Chase Road, South Woodford. At the time of the Census his father was in the West Ham Workhouse, Union Road, Leytonstone, and died there later in the year. His Mother worked as a Charwoman. In 1913 he married Mary or Elizabeth Mary Passaway, and they had two children.

Initially in the Norfolk Yeomanry, he was transferred when the need for reinforcements in the trenches saw the creation of The Household Battalion, an infantry unit formed from cavalrymen who were based in the UK and not already at the Front. The Battalion arrived in France on 8/9 November 1916.

The Battalion War Diary records:

“On the 9th of April 1917 the Battle of Arras began and the Household Battalion was ordered to attack on the 11th in support of the 2nd Battalion Seaforth Highlanders at Roeux. The Seaforths advanced at noon having endured a German artillery barrage while waiting to go over the top having been spotted by a German aircraft. 10 minutes later the Household Battalion followed them with Number 4 Company on the left of the battalion. As they advanced from the Hyderabad Redoubt Captain Bodington was killed by machine gun fire and the two leading platoons of his company were practically destroyed."

The attack faltered as the other companies suffered terrible casualties. Number 3 Company under Captain Pelly made some ground and he was ordered to consolidate this but otherwise the attack was a failure. Casualties were 3 officers and 36 other ranks killed with 1 officer and 124 other ranks wounded and 6 missing”.

Walter Nightingale was among those Killed in Action that day.

He was the fourth and final brother to be lost.

X/R: Lance Corporal Charles Nightingale (1914) Rifleman James Henry Nightingale (1915) Private Frederick John Nightingale (1915) (Brothers)

Research by Adrian Lee, Local Historian