Walter Edmund Bastock (1884-1918)
Sapper 183336, 69th Company Royal Engineers
Walter Bastock was born in Warwick in 1885, son of plasterer William Bastock and of Mary Ann Godson, daughter of a tailor. Walter was baptised at St.Paul’s Warwock on 30th April 1890, along with three of his siblings. Both of Walter’s parents had been previously married, and there were eight children in the house at 60, West Street, Warwick, in 1891. Aged sixteen, Walter was an apprentice plasterer with his eldest brother Thomas, and lived with Thomas and his family at 44, Beachfield Road, Aston.
In late 1906, Walter married Christina Roseannah Yardley, from Wolverhampton, daughter of a tinplate worker and a dressmaker, in Aston. The new family lived at the back of 22, Mole Street in Sparkbrook, paying rent to the shopkeeper at number 20. Daughter Ivy Gertrude was born in July 1907, Christine May in September 1909, and William Arthur in February 1910 – Christine and William were baptised at the same time in Christ Church, Sparkbrook, in 1910 .
Walter Bastock, now by trade a plasterer, was away from home in 1911, working in Sandhurst in Berkshire. Walter’s and Christina’s fourth child, Marie Kathleen, was born in October 1915.
Walter enlisted in the Royal Engineers as Sapper 183336, joining 69th Field Company, which had been raised as part of Kitchener’s expansion of the army after 1914. Walter’s army service record has not survived – two-thirds of all army records from WW1 were destroyed by enemy bombing during WW2.
In 1918 69th Company Royal Engineers were part of the 12th (Eastern) Division on the Western Front in France. On 8th August the Allies launched a massive attack at Amiens, the beginning of the advance known as the Hundred Days’ Offensive. Exhausted and over-stretched German forces were driven back, the Allies advancing an unprecedented seven miles on the first day. Over the four days of the Battle of Amiens - in which the Allies deployed half a million men, 500 tanks and 2000 aircraft - there were 44,000 Allied and 75,000 German casualties.
Sapper Walter Bastock was a casualty even before the battle started. Wounded on 5th August, he was taken to #4 Casualty Clearing Station, halfway between Abbeville and Amiens. Walter died of wounds three days later. He was 34 years of age.
The record shows that Walter’s widow Christina lived at 33 Mole Street (this may have been just renumbering). Like all who fought, Walter was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. Christina received £7 14s 10d from Walter’s effects, and a later War Gratuity of £8. In 1919 the family was granted a pension of £1 13s 9d per week – the pension for each of the four children would cease when they were sixteen.
Christina remarried, but she later reverted to her married name of Bastock, and lived with her son William at 299, Fox Hollies Road in Walmley, until at least 1965. Christina died in 1971.