Walter Camfield

Date of birth:                  2nd September 1892
Place of birth:                Monmouthshire, Wales
Service No.:                    406489
Rank:                                 Private
Regiment / Division:   West Ontario Regiment/Canadian Infantry
Battalion:                         1st Canadian Infantry
Died:                                  22nd September 1916 aged 24 years
Death Location:            Courcelette, France

Before the War
Walter’s parents were Mark (1855- 1930) and Jane Camfield (nee Keeping 1881 – ).  They were married in 1879, in Southampton.

His date of birth is not clear as on Canadian 1911 census it is registered as June 1981, but on his enlistment papers it is recorded as 2nd September 1892.

Walter’s siblings were:
William (b. 31st July 1882 – d. 1st November 1914
Mark (1883)
Emily Jane (1887)
George (1889)
John (1889)
Harry (1894 – 1957).
His elder brother William was killed in action in the Battle of Coronel on 1st November 1914.

On 1901 census Walter is living with his 5 brothers and mother at 9 St John Street, St Marys Southampton.  His father is registered as on board the vessel The Queen which was docked in Sunderland Harbour.

The 1911 Canadian census shows Walter emigrated to Ontario, Canada in 1906 and is working as a labourer in Blanshard, Ontario with a Marriott family.

Military History
Walter enlisted in the 1st Canadian Infantry Battalion on 5th May 1915 and listed his next of kin as his father, Mark, of 93 Grove Road, Woolston, Southampton.

Walter previously served in the 44th Welland Regiment which was placed on active service on 6th August 1914 for local protection duties with the Welland Canal Force.   German saboteurs planned to blow up the canal because it was used to transport arms.   This plan did not go ahead because of the strength of the Canadian protection of the canal.

The battalion was created on 2nd September 1914 with recruits from Western Ontario.  In October Walter set off for England aboard the SS Laurentic which was a White Star liner.  She had been requisitioned to transport troops of the Canadian Expeditionary Force and was part of a large convoy taking 35000 troops to England.   They arrived in England on 14th October 1914.

The Battle of Flers–Courcelette took place in the summer and autumn 1916 and was the first time that Canadian and New Zealanders had fought in the Somme.  The battle started on the 15th September 1916 and continued for a week ending on 22nd September 1916.

Walter was reported as missing, presumed dead on 22nd September 1916

Walter was awarded the Victory medal and British War Medal

He is remembered at the Vimy Memorial which is dedicated to those who served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force and lost their lives during the First World War. This memorial is north of Arras, France and overlooks the Douai Plain. 11285 names are carved on the memorial.

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