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Walter Horrobin was born in Bolton during the first quarter of 1896. His parents were Walter Henry (1857 – 1904) and Nancy Horrobin (nee Entwistle) (1862 – 1936). Walter had two older brothers; Albert Edward (b. 1880) and Fred (b. 1891) and an older sister named Emma (b. 1884). His parents had four other children that sadly didn’t survive childhood.

At the time of the 1891 census the family were living at 8 John Street, Bolton.

When Walter was eight years old his father died having been poisoned by mussels.


The Northampton Mercury, 5th February 1904


The Essex Newsman, 6th February 1904

By the time of the 1911 census, Walter was fifteen years old and living with  his mother, brothers and sister at 12 Kirk Street, Bolton. The whole family, aside from Albert (a bricklayer), worked in the cotton industry. The family later moved to number 33 on the same street.

When War broke out in August 1914 Walter enlisted in the Army at Bolton and joined the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment with the number 7942, later 29574. It appears Walter joined one of the Service Battalions, then was posted into the 1/4th (Territorial) Battalion when the Service Battalions were being to get disbanded.

We know that Private Walter Horrobin didn’t depart for France until sometime after January 1916 due to only being entitled to the British War Medal and Victory Medal.

Walter was appointed Lance Corporal whilst serving overseas, but doesn’t appear to have substantive.

On 24th September 1918, 22 year old Walter Horrobin died of wounds he had sustained at an earlier date. He was buried in the Houchin British Cemetery.


Roll of Honour entry in the 1/4th Battalion history


CWGC Headstone at Houchin British Cemetery

It is impossible to state exactly in which action Walter received his fatal wounds; the following are extracts from the Battalion history between 4th – 25th September 1918 where casualties are mentioned.

On the 4th September 1918, patrols having reported the evacuation of the enemy’s front line trenches. Battalion Headquarters moved up from WINDY CORNER to GIVENCHY KEEP TUNNEL. D Company secured a prisoner. One of our night patrols encountered enemy at ROCHE ALLEY, and a sharp fight ensued ; we left one man severely wounded, who was brought in by a daylight patrol. Lieutenant King and 38 Other Ranks were gassed, one Other Rank killed, and Second Lieutenant Davies and two Other Ranks wounded.

On the 5th September 1918, daylight patrols continued to push up ROCHE ALLEY and CUPOLA ALLEY, and established outposts, our own line being in advance of the right Battalion. The enthusiasm of all ranks to push forward was much marked, and the respective Companies vied with each other in their endeavour to establish posts farthest east of any in the Battalion or in the Division. Four Other Ranks were wounded and 12 Other Ranks gassed.

On the 6th September 1918, there was a little scattered shelling ; we were relieved in daylight by the 1 4th King’s Own, and went into support. The next two days were occupied with carrying parties, which involved hard and continuous work owing to the state of the trenches and the increasing distance between the front line posts and the reserves. We had one Other Rank killed, seven wounded, and three gassed.

On the 9th September 1918, we relieved the King’s Own again, and patrols located the enemy at APSE HOUSE. The following night a patrol attacked him, but without success.

The 11th September 1918, was very wet, and on the 12th we were relieved by the 2/5th Lancashire Fusiliers and moved back to support. The casualties during the tour were : 5 Other Ranks killed, Second Lieutenants Jones, Daniels, Marsden and Thomas and 18 Other Ranks wounded, 1 Other Rank gassed.

The weather began to improve. The enemy carried out as usual the daily strafe on the craters on the 13th. Two Other Ranks were killed, one wounded, and two gassed.

On the 14th, four Platoons from A and C Companies were detailed for carrying parties to the 2 /5th Lancashire Fusiliers, who were attacking 127 CANTELEUX TRENCH at 1 30 p.m. The operation was classed as unsuccessful owing to strong counter-attack and heavy shelling, but they secured 10 prisoners. Second Lieutenant L. B. Smith was killed whilst assisting the attack of the Fusiliers, and six Other Ranks were wounded. The 17th King’s Liverpool Regiment relieved us, and we were taken back by ‘buses to VAUDRICOURT where we rested, trained, and carried out the usual recreational programme.

Rank: Private
Service No: 29574
Date of Death: 24/09/1918
Age: 22
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/4th Bn.

Unfortunately his service papers do not appear to have survived.

Paul McCormick
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2 Responses to 29574 PTE. W. HORROBIN. L.N.LAN.R

  1. Jon Horrobin says:

    Thank you very much for this, and all the other info you have shared. Great!

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