Baxenden Lads: Dobson W

11th October 1916

PTE. 43161 WALTER DOBSON of the Manchester Regiment was killed in action near Bapaume, on the Somme battlefields, on October 11th 1916.

Walter lived at 17 Nelson Street, Accrington, with his wife and child, but before his marriage he lived at 17 Alliance Street, Baxenden. He enlisted in the army in March 1916, almost a year after his marriage. He was aged twenty-one. He previously worked as a labourer at Alliance Mill, Baxenden. Walter was a regular attender at St. John’s Church, Baxenden.

Walter’s body lies in the A.I.F. (Australian Imperial Forces) Burial Ground, Grass Lane, Flers. It is some four miles south of Bapaume on the Albert road. The cemetery was started by Australian medical units in neighbouring caves in November 1916 – hence the name. The cemetery was enlarged after the Armistice by the concentration of bodies from the surrounding area. Walter would be one of these; he was very likely buried in a temporary grave by his comrades. Such was the awfulness of the battles and the conditions in the area that 2,262 out of 3,842 bodies in the cemetery are unidentified and unnamed: “Known only to God”.