Name: Walter Maxwell
DoB: January 17 1893.
Regt: 2nd Lieut., South Wales Borderers.
DoD: February 11 1918.
Academic Career: CGS 1903-7
Other: Auctioneer and valuer.
Walter was born at Bankhead Canonbie, Roxeburghshire, son of William Frank and Mary Maxwell. His father came from Bewcastle, and his mother from KirkAndrews-on-Esk. In 1901 the family was living at The Croft, Houghton near Carlisle. His father was listed as “living on own means” and they had two servants. There was a daughter, Margaret Grace, aged seven. In 1911 Walter was living with his mother in 104 (Cleughside House?), Scotland Road, Stanwix, Carlisle. At the time of his death his mother was reported as a widow living at 105 Scotland Road.
Walter was a private in the Border Regiment (no 2047), from September 10 1914 until he received his commission. For part of this time he was stationed in Burma at Maymyo. It was a Hill Station established by the British who used it as the summer capital of British Burma.
He applied for a Commission on July 7 1916, his C.O. recommended him on August 1 1916. He was described as 5ft 7″ tall and he weighed 152lbs. He gave his occupation as auctioneer, and described himself as an expert motor driver!
He was commissioned April 28 1917, officer No. 160340 Walter Maxwell, 2nd Lieutenant 1st (Brecknock)Battalion South Wales Borderers (signalling section).
Walter died of heart failure at Mhow Station in India.
Captain Cockcroft wrote: “ He came into my company in September 1917, and we at once became great friends…He was a most reliable, keen young officer, and had a great command of men. No day was too long for him. My men loved him, and it was the greatest shock, and to me to hear of his death at Bangalore. …we have lost a great friend.” Captain MF Thomas said: “I had formed the highest of him. He was a very good officer, keen on his work, and a more willing and obliging man I have seldom met…He was very popular with his brother officers and he will be much missed by us all. He has done his duty well and he has given for his King and country quite as much as if he had been killed in action.” A fellow officer AT Nicholson said Maxwell: “was recognised as an authority in his special line of signalling and he will be greatly missed.”
Maxwell was awarded three campaign medals: 1914-15 Star, British War medal, Victory medal.
He was buried in Bangalore (Hosur Road) Cemetery, in the Presbyterian section. He is commemorated on the MADRAS 1914-1918 MEMORIAL which is situated at the rear of the Madras War Cemetery. It bears the names of more than 1,000 servicemen who died during the First World War who lie in many civil and cantonment cemeteries in various parts of India where it is not possible to maintain their graves in perpetuity.
Although the record says that Walter served with the 1st Battalion South Wales Borderers, on the date he died they were fighting on the Western Front around the area of Langemark in Belgium.
In the 1911 Census Walter was an apprentice livestock auctioneer. In his will Walter left £4,849 16s 2d to his sister.
a) Carlisle School Memorial Register 1264-1924
b) Census: 1911 RG 14/31339; 1901 RG 13/4870; Scotland 1881; 1871 RG 10/5212
c) The Cumberland News April 2 1918 and April 27 1918
d) The Commonwealth War Graves Commission
e) Regimental Museum of The Royal Welsh
f) National Archives WO339/79889