Walter Charles Martin (1891‒1918)
Walter Charles Martin was born in the fourth quarter of 1891 in Cambridge, son of Henry James Martin, butcher’s assistant, and his wife Rebecca Mary. At the time, the family lived at 22 Mill Street (in Petersfield), Cambridge, but moved in 1901 to 202 Mill Road (Romsey Town), where Henry James had his own butcher’s shop. Walter had six siblings: William Henry (c.1888‒), Edith Whitmore (c.1890‒1918 ‒ see below), Arthur Harry (c.1893‒), Frank (c.1898‒), Herbert J (c.1900‒), and one other. By 1911, aged 19, Walter’s trade was baker.
Walter married Frances M. Osborn in the last quarter of 1913 in Caxton, Cambridgeshire. It is unclear where the couple lived, or whether they had any children. At some point, Walter either enlisted in, or was conscripted into the Army Service Corps’ 22nd Corps Field Bakery. (The Army Service Corps ‒ it acquired the prefix “Royal” in 1918 for its service in World War I ‒ was responsible for all forms of military transport and delivery of all supplies, including food, and also administration. It recruited trained butchers and bakers who manned their numerous Field Butcheries and Field Bakeries.) Walter’s service number was S4/094591, and he was serving in Salonica (Macedonia), as part of a two-year campaign in which western Allied forces helped the Serbs to resist the Bulgarian army (which was allied to Austria-Hungary). The campaign continued until October 1918.
Walter contracted a fever in February 1918 from which he died on 28 February at the age of 28. His body was buried in the Salonica (Lembet Road) Military Cemetery, grave No. 1374, and his death is commemorated also in this grave in the parish area of Holy Trinity. His is the first death recorded in the inscription, and the only inscription on the headstone, the remaining inscriptions being on the kerbstones. His sister Edith died only eight months after him, so hers was the first body to be buried in the plot, the parents’ bodies being subsequently buried there in 1931 and 1935.
Service No: S4/094591
Date of Death: 28/02/1918
Regiment/Service: Army Service Corps, XXII Corps. Field Bakery.
Grave Reference: 1374.
Cemetery: SALONIKA (LEMBET ROAD) MILITARY CEMETERY
Parish : Holy Trinity
Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s website
By Ian Bent