Pte. Horace WALLER VC. ( ). 10th Battalion King s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. For Valour The words imprinted on all Victoria Crosses. Of all

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1 Pte. Horace WALLER VC. ( ). 10 Battalion King s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. For Valour The words imprinted on all Victoria Crosses. Of all e sixty two names on e Batley Grammar School Roll of Honour, Private Horace Waller received e highe diinction in awards for bravery. He was awarded e Victoria Cross, for his actions on e day of his dea, April The Waller family were plumbers by trade and hailed from e Sooill area of Batley. In 1881 Strickland Waller and his wife Sarah lived wi eir five children at e Top of e Town in Sooill, Batley. John Edward Waller, Horace s faer was irteen years old at e time. Ten years later, in 1891, John Edward Waller had married his fir wife Eser and he was following in e family tradition of being a plumber and glazier. By 1901 John Edward and Eser had had two children, John Strickland Waller, who was nine years old in 1901 and Horace Waller, who was four years old. Horace had been born on September 23rd 1896 at 11 Woodhill Terrace in Batley Carr. Horaces s moer, Eser, died in e summer of 1899 and e family moved back in wi John Edward s moer Sarah, who was by now herself a widow and running e family plumbing business herself, wi her sons John and Arur bo working in e business wi her. The family lived at 82 Upper Road Batley at is time, a terraced house which ill exis today. In October 1903 Horace s faer John Edward married Sarah Elizabe Prescott, a spiner, four years older an himself and by 1911 ey were living as a family on eir own wi Horace and John Strickland, at Upper Road in Batley. John Edward was ill working in e Project BUGLE 1 of 5 April 2017

2 plumbing business, at e time, but seemingly his wife Sarah, had given e mploy as a cook. Horace was at B atley G rammar School by is time. up her previous H orace Waller had attended P urlwell J unior School in Batley and won a free scholarship to B atley Grammar School, where he began his udies in e autumn term of By e age o f seventeen he had to leave e school and was apprenticed in e family firm of plumbers, which went by e trading name of Strickland Waller and Sons. He was able to continue his s tudies at B atley T echnical C ollege. Horace joined e army as a private on May It was his ird attempt to do so as he had been classed as medically unfit on e fir two occasions he had tried to enli. He was atteed into e 9 Service Battalion of e King s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, as Class C in terms of medical fitness. The 10 Battalion KOYLI had been formed in Pontefract i n September 1914 and exactly a year later found emselves fighting in F rance. Horace Waller s service records do not exi, sadly and his medal record card tells us very l ittle about his service. The card itself does not even record at he was awarded e V ictoria Cross, noting only at his family were entitled to e Victory Medal. It is impossible to know when Horace went to F rance en. However, he was certainly in France in April of 1917 when e 9 and 10 battalions of e King s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry were involved in an attack on e German Hindenburg Line. In early April 1917, in o rder to prepare for e attack, e two battalions were practising attacks near Boisleux au M ont on e River Cojeul, to e sou ea of e town of A rras. On April e 9 Battalion went into e line and e 10 Battalion were held in reserve. The attack on e German trenches began on e afternoon of April Unfortunately e original barrage by e Royal Artillery was not rong enough to break mo of e German wire and e fir attack by e 9 battalion soon faltered, wi many casualties lying in front of e German wire and in shell holes. Soon after dusk on e 9 April 1917 e 10 KOYLI s were brought out of reserve trenches. The 9 battalion were ordered to fall back and e 10 battalion took eir place on e left flank of e line. A b ombing position here was being held at all cos in order to op e Germans counter a ttacking and taking e British trenches. The war diary for e 10 KOYLI s records at on April at 7-30 pm: At about 7-30 pm A and C Companies under Captain Marsh were sent up to reinforce e 1 Ea Yorkshires and 15 Durham Light Infantry ( DLI) who had succeeded in penetrating e Hindenburg Line and were holding about 1000 yards. A difficult operation which was carried out successfully in e dark. 2 o f 5

3 On e following day, April , at 3.30 am. e diary reports at: C Company of 10 KOYLI relieved e bombing pos of e 15 DLI on e left and held e line from e communication trench to e left of e captured line P rivate Horace Waller was part of e bombing party from C company who had gone forward to hold part of e Hindenburg Line captured from e Germans e d ay before. The war diary for April 10 f or e Victoria Cross: 1917 gives details about how Horace Waller was recommended 8 am. C Company repulsed a very determined bombing attack rowing over 300 bombs. Private Waller of C Coy diinguished himself on is occasion. Alough wounded he uck to his po and continued bombing until he died. He has been r ecommended for a Victor ia Cross Private Horace Waller was one of fourteen oer ranks killed, along wi two officers who lo eir lives in e attacks on April 9 and Seventy one oer ranks were w ounded and seventeen missing. T he award of a Victoria Cross to Horace Waller was announced in e London Gazette of June The citation for e award read: For mo conspicuous bravery when wi a bombing section forming a block in e enemy line. A very violent counter-a ttack was made by e enemy on is po, and alough five of e garrison were killed, Pte. Waller continued for more an an hour to row bombs, and finally repulsed e attack. In e evening e enemy again counter- attacked e po and all e garrison became casualties, except Pte. W aller, who, alough wounded later, continued to row bombs for anoer half an hour until he was killed. Throughout ese attacks he showed e utmo valour, and it was due to his determination at e attacks on is important po w ere repulsed." Brigadier General H. R. Headlam, e commander of 64 f ormed part of wrote: 3 o f 5. Brigade, which e 10 KOYLI s I command e brigade in which is e battalion to which he belonged and c onsequently know very well e situation during which Private Waller performed his magnificent act of bravery. His fearless conduct and splendid bravery on at occasion were deciding factors to a critical period, and no man ever won e V ictoria Cross more deservedly. On July Horace Waller s parents made e journey from B atley to Buckingham Palace to be presented wi e Victoria Cross he had won, by e King. The Times newspaper announced at Horace Waller s parents had attended e ceremony on July 21

4 1917, on page 9 of e edition surviving officers wi m edals. of July 23 rd It recorded at after inveing many...e King subsequently received e following Next of Kin of deceased Officers and Men and handed to em e V ictoria Crosses which had been awarded in e w ar to eir relatives. Mr and Mrs Edward Waller to receive e Victoria Cross awarded P rivate Horace Waller, late The King s Own Y orkshire Light Infantry. to eir son T he July 1917 edition of e B atley Grammar School magazine opened wi e news of Horace Waller s dea and e award of e Victoria Cross. Under e heading Obiter Dicta h is dea was poed in two following paragraphs: The highe honour for gallantry in e field ha s been won by an old boy Horace Waller. But in carrying out his act of bravery he paid e supreme sacrifice and all w e can do now is sympaise wi his parents and to revere his memory. W e remember him at school as quiet and reserved but as one who had high ideals. On e evening of e 25 o f June e whole school went down to B atley Carr P arish C hurch, to pay one la tribute to our hero. T he page in e B atley w hich announced his G rammar School Magazine dea in July o f 5

5 Horace Waller left a total of 184.7s2d in his will to his faer, John Edward Waller. His older broer, John Strickland Waller, who h ad been a Corporal in e KOYL I s, survived e war. P rivate Horace Waller is buried at Cojeul Military Cemetery, France. The village of St Martin- sur- Cojeul was taken by e 30 Division on 9 April 1917, lo in March 1918, and retaken in t he following Augu. Cojeul British Cemetery was begun by e 21 Division Burial Officer in April 1917, and used by fighting units until e following October. It was very severely damaged in later fighting. One oer soldier who received a Victoria Cross is buried ere, a long wi Horace Waller. Captain Arur Henderson of e Argyll and Suerland H ighlanders res in e next row of graves to Horace Waller VC. In February 1980 e Victoria Cross won by Horace Waller was sold at auction by Chriie s. I t was ill in its original case and fetched 8,000. Waller s name is memorialised in e Shaw cross area of Batley wi a road being named after him. In 1992 e Mayor of Batley opened Horace Waller VC Parade. Private Waller s Commonweal War Grave headone bears e bugle badge of e King s O wn Yorkshire Light Infantry and also an engraving of e Victoria Cross to show its i mportance. The words H onour d Beloved Mourn d make a fitting epitaph for a Batley lad, of whom it was said,... no man ever won e Victoria Cross more deservedly. C ojeul British Cemetery, France. R esearcher : Philip Wheeler Taken from Philip Wheeler s book - ATLEY LADS B (The ory of e men on e Roll of Honour at Batley Grammar School who died in e Great War ). Publi shed o f 5