Rifleman S/5038 Walter P. J. Spiro
7th Battalion Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consorts Own)
Rifleman Spiro was born in Liverpool the son of S. and Jenny Spiro, of 36 Lushington Road, Harlesden, London. He enlisted in Westminster with his place of residence shown as Harlesden, London.
Very little is known of his movements but at some point he worked in the Westminster Bank in Hungerford, (later the NatWest Bank 119 High Street) where to this day there is a memorial on the wall.
He died on Friday 18th August 1916, aged 24. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval memorial to the missing.
- The cap badge of the Rifle Brigade. (This is a confusing title for those not familiar with army titles. Each Rifle Brigade unit was in fact a battalion.)
- Rifleman Spiro's name on the Thiepval memorial to the missing
The War Diary reads:
(Rifleman Spiro was in 'D' Company)
18th August 1916 – West of Delville Wood. Capture of Orchard Trench and portion of Wood Lane. Battalion on left of Brigade, 7 K.R.R. (Kings Royal Rifle Corps) on our right. Bombardment all day until Zero 2.45 pm when intense fire commenced for 5 minutes during when 'A' and 'D' companies crept forward to the edge of the barrage and assaulted at 2.50 am. 'A' Company captured their objective, captured 2 machine guns and consolidated. 'D' company was not as successful and reached 200 yards from Wood Lane. 'A' and 'C' companies bombed up and cleaned 35 yards of wood lane and established a bombing block.
Casualties - Officers killed 1, wounded 5; other ranks killed 62, wounded 191, 11 missing.
[NOTE: Delville Wood was known by all who fought there as 'Devils Wood'. Today it is famous for the South African War memorial situated there, but most British battalions fought in and around the wood at some point]
The Newbury Weekly News reported on 9th November 1916, page 8:
Local War Notes (extract):
"The loss is deplored of Rifleman W Spiro, Rifle Brigade, who was in the London County and Westminster Bank at Hungerford, and, joining up soon after the outbreak of the war, he proceeded to France. After many months' service, out of which he came unscathed, he returned home on leave, and being taken sick, entered the Red Cross Hospital at Hungerford, where he remained for three months. He returned to his regiment in France in June, and was reported missing after a charge." [Kindly sent by Phil Wood, 2012].