WW1 Casualty: Private 7875 Walter Coulson -
Private 7875 Walter Coulson
||1st Bn., Loyal North Lancashire Regiment
|Date of Death
Le Touret Memorial
Panel 27 & 28
|SDGW – Where Born
|Research Ref. No.
At the time of the outbreak of war, the 1st Battalion was based in Tournay Barracks in Aldershot. On 12th August 1914 the battalion left in two sections, for Farnborough Station. They entrained for Southampton, arriving there in the late afternoon and here they boarded the s.s. “Agapenor”.
They sailed at midnight, arriving at Le Havre just after midday on the 13th. The battalion marched out of town and camped overnight about 6 miles away. On 14th, they left at about 6.45 p.m. for the railway station and entrained for Le Nouvion, via Rouen, Paris, Amiens, Arras and Cambrai. They spent just 24 hours here before marching on to billets at Eequheries.
They reached Givry on 23 August. The British Expeditionary Force was now in retreat (the Retreat from Mons), and falling back, the Battalion would arrive at Bernay on 5 September. But it was now time to advance and moving forward again, the Marne was crossed at Nogent on 9 September, The very next day, they engaged with the German Army for the first time in a skirmish which resulted in 3 of the battalion being killed and 24 wounded
They were now ordered forwards, to seize the Aisne and secure all crossings, also to secure the high ground on the north bank of the river. They crossed the Aisne on the 10th then remained in billets until 13th, when they moved to Vendresse.
Next day, 14 September the Loyals went into action at Troyon, where heavy fighting was going on at a factory. "The position was reached", notes the Battalion records, "the factory was carried and held; but the enemy was in great strength and counter-attacked heavily...." With ammunition beginning to run out, the Loyals were forced to withdraw. Their casualties numbered fourteen officers and more than five hundred other ranks, killed, wounded and missing.
By early November, the battalion was in the Ypres sector where they relieved the Berkshires, being informed that it was a quiet part of the line. However on the 8th, the Germans launched an assault on the positions of the Loyals and the neighbouring French, forcing the troops holding the front trenches to fallback. Bitter fighting following in which the front line trench changed hands more than once, and heavy casualties were incurred on both sides.
To quote from the regimental history, “And so matters went on, attacks, withdrawals and counter-attacks, in rain and snow, with ever-decreasing numbers, until at last on 14th, what remained of a hard-fighting marched to Vlamertinghe”. They were withdrawn from the front for a much needed rest until 21st December.
It is not clear at which point Pte. Coulson fell. All this is known is that he died on 15th December, one of two men of the battalion who were killed in action on that day. He has no known grave and is remembered on the Le Touret memorial.
Private Coulson’s Medal Index Card
Private Coulson’s inscription (lower right) on the Le Touret Memorial