No. 9782, Rifle Brigade
The name Sergeant Walter Whyman, Rifle Brigade is commemorated on the First World War Memorial Plaque in Holywood Masonic Hall – even though he was not a First World War casualty. No evidence has been found to date that Walter Whyman served during the First World War and he was 76 when he died of pancreatic cancer on 10 October 1946.
Walter Whyman was born on 25 June 1870 in Gravesend, Kent and he was a son of William James and Caroline Whyman (nee Still). William James Whyman worked as an officer’s servant and groom and he and Caroline had four children:
Walter (born 25 June 1870)
Florence (born 28 January 1873)
William Ernest (born 31 January 1875)
Alice Louisa (born around 1876/1877)
There is evidence that their father William also had two daughters with Caroline Elizabeth Parton.
There is evidence that their mother Caroline also had a son with Edmund John Leney and three sons and four daughters with Henry Richard Hills.
Caroline’s sons were:
Arthur (born 3 June 1880)
Henry Herbert Hills (born around 1883)
Horace Hills (born around 1893)
Richard (born around 1897)
Caroline died on 12 March 1933 in Northfleet, Kent (aged 81).
Walter Whyman joined the Rifle Brigade (No. 9782) on 15 November 1888 at Winchester and in his attestation papers it is recorded that he was a labourer from New Brompton, Chatham, Kent. He was 18 years and 5 months old and had previously served in the West Kent Militia. He was 5 feet 4¼ inches tall with a fresh complexion, brown eyes and dark red hair. He had a white scar on the back of his neck and a brown mole on his left side under his armpit.
Initially he cited as his next-of-kin his mother Caroline who was living at 20 Alfred Place, Northfleet (after he got married on 21 August 1897 he cited his wife as his next-of-kin).
Private Walter Whyman was promoted to the rank of Corporal on 8 October 1892 and to the rank of Sergeant on 11 November 1897.
On 19 March 1898 Sergeant Walter Whyman was serving with the 2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade in Malta when he signed up ‘for such term as shall complete 21 years of service’.
Walter Whyman was appointed Sergeant Master Cook on 10 April 1899. He was transferred to the 1st Battalion on 10 October 1905 and discharged from the Army on 14 November 1909 at Holywood after 21 years of service. His conduct and character while with the Colours had been ‘exemplary’. For employment in civilian life, it was noted in his papers that he had knowledge of librarian duties, he was a master cook and a good clerk.
During his time in the Army, Walter Whyman served at Home (1888 to 1897); in Malta (1897 to 1898); in Egypt (1898); in Crete (1898 to 1899); in South Africa (1899 to 1902); in Egypt (1902 to 1905); in Malta (1905 to 1906) and at Home (1906 to 1909). His records show that he took part in the Nile Expedition in 1898 and, in the same year, the occupation of Crete. He was awarded the Sudan Medal in 1898; the Nile Expedition Medal in 1898 with a clasp for Khartoum; the Queen’s South Africa Medal with clasps for Belfast, Defence of Ladysmith and Laing’s Nek; the King’s South Africa Medal with clasps for 1901 and 1902; the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal in 1907.
Walter Whyman and Annie Elizabeth White (born 26 November 1877) were married on 21 August 1897 in the Parish Church, Alton, Hampshire and Walter was a Sergeant in the Rifle Brigade stationed at Palace Barracks, Holywood when their daughter Hilda Marjorie Elizabeth was born on 18 August 1907 in Palace Barracks. Their daughter Winifred Lulu Whyman was born on 14 July 1912 and baptised on 28 July 1912 in Emmanuel Parish Church of England Church, Camberwell, London. At that time the Whyman family was living at 4 Ayliff House, Portland Street, London and Walter was working as a commissionaire.
The marriage of Hilda Marjorie Elizabeth Whyman to Edwin Charles Rousell was registered in the fourth quarter of 1929 in Wandsworth, London.
The marriage of Winifred Lulu Whyman to Norman Leslie Count (in some records spelt Caunt) was registered in the second quarter of 1938 in Wandsworth, Surrey.
Walter Whyman of 39 Courtwick Road, Wick, Littlehampton, Sussex died of pancreatic cancer on 10 October 1946 (aged 76) and probate was granted to Edwin Charles Rousell, an accountant, and Winifred Lulu Count, wife of Norman Leslie Count. Walter Whyman was buried on 14 October 1946 in Littlehampton.
Annie Elizabeth Whyman died in July 1961 and she was buried on 22 July 1961 in Littlehampton.
The death of Winfred Lulu Count (aged 68) was registered in March 1981 in Honiton, Devon.
The death of Hilda Marjorie Elizabeth Rousell (aged 82) was registered in December 1989 in Exeter, Devon.
Three of Walter Whyman’s half-brothers were killed in the Great War:
Private Horace Hills Whyman (No. G/11270) died on 13 September 1916 (aged 23). He served with the 10th Battalion, Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent Regiment), he has no known grave and he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial (Pier and Face 11C).
Private Richard Whyman (No. 23223) died on 17 March 1917 (aged 20). He served with the 2nd Battalion, East Surrey Regiment and was buried in Struma Military Cemetery, Greece (Grave VIII. A.4).
Rifleman Henry Herbert Hills Whyman (No. 31449) died on 9 September 1918 (aged 35). He served with the 2nd Battalion, 3rd New Zealand Rifle Brigade and he was buried in Gouzeaucourt New British Cemetery, France (Grave II.C.15).