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Walter George Giles (Po) RMA 13228, Royal Marine Artillery, Gunner.

Walter was born on 23rd December 1895 in Winkfield, Berkshire to parents Thomas and Elizabeth (Smith), his birth registered in the new quarter of 1896 and area of Easthampstead. He was one of ten children to the couple and was the fourth of six mentioned on the 1901 census. Walter was aged five and lived with his family at 4 Hatchet Lane in the parish of Winkfield, Berkshire, his father working as a domestic gardener to support them all. On the 1911 census he was recorded being fifteen years old with no occupation, but he did go into gardening after his, as did his older brother Robert, possibly on the same estate that their father worked on. Walter’s two younger brothers still attended school and his other siblings had left the home, which was Manor Hill Cottage, Windsor Park, Sunninghill in Ascot, Berkshire.

He was employed as a gardener before enlisting in London with the Royal Marines Artillery on 30th December 1912 just a week after his 18th birthday, although he actually joined seven days after his SEVENTEENTH birthday as his record was written with his birth year of 1894 instead of 1895.

He was noted as being 5'9" tall with brown hair and brown eyes, had a mole on his back and was able to swim. He trained as a Private until 8th October 1913 before rising in rank to Gunner 2nd Class. He had further training from 9th October 1913 to 30th March 1914, before he embarked to HMS Vanguard, his only ship, on 31st March 1914 where he stayed for over 3 years until her explosion, serving during the Battle of Jutland.

He is remembered in perpetuity on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial and locally on the war memorial in Egham, Surrey along with crew mate Harry Cooper.

His pension was awarded to his mother while his Star, Victory and British war medals were issued to his brother.

#197 - 321/843


England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915 Free BMD

1901 & 1911 England Census

British Army and Navy Birth, Marriage and Death Records, 1730-1960 National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Admiralty: Naval Casualties, Indexes, War Grave Rolls and Statistics Book, First World War.; Class: ADM 242; Piece: 008 (1914 - 1919)

CWGC Register

National Archives ADM 159/87/13228

World War I Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914-1923 Western Front Association; London, England; WWI Pension Record Cards and Ledgers; Reference: 079/0359/Gil-Gil

Photo courtesy of Linda Grogan

Memorial images courtesy of War Memorials Trust6, & W Sadler.

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