Andrew Osmond Walter (group photograph)



Andrew Osmond Walter (group photograph)


Andrew Osmond Walter, born November 20th 1891 in Hungerford, Berkshire.




Andrew Osmond (1891-1966) served in World War One. From his number (1806) I learned from the very knowledgeable Andrew French that he joined the Berkshire Yeomanry in the spring of 1913 when he was 21. The Hungerford Troop was merged with the Reading Squadron of the Berkshire Yeomanry and the men in Troop B spent the autumn of 1914 exercising on the Downs above Blewbury on Churn land. They were frustrated not to have been sent overseas, because everyone believed the war would be over by Christmas 1914.

Finally they went to war in spring 1915. They were sent to Egypt and landed at Alexandria on 21st April 1915. Although they were a mounted troop, the decision was taken that they would fight as infantry and on 14th August 1915 314 men and 9 officers sailed from Alexandria aboard the SS Lake Michigan and landed at Sulva on the Gallipoli peninsula 4 days later. They then fought some of the bloodiest of battles in the Dardanelles.

The battle of Hill 70 (known as Scimitar or Burnt Hill) is well documented. Of those who went into action, 4 officers and 150 men returned and there were six men made Prisoners Of War (PoW), Sgt WJ Babister, Tpr A Calder, Tpr P New, Tpr W Collins and Tpr O Walter. Of these Collins died while in captivity. Percy New was also a Hungerford man and had enlisted a few months before Osmond. Babister was awarded the Military Service Medal for his services whilst in captivity.

Some experts think that those few taken prisoner were at the very front of the attack and as a PoW, Osmond probably made it past the second Turkish trench line and was one of those who continued the advance over the top of the hill and down the reverse side of the hill to attack the final trenches at the rear of the hill. This battle is most famous for the awarding of the Victoria Cross to Trooper Fred Potts who rescued one of his colleagues Private Arthur Andrews and whose statue was recently unveiled in Forbury Gardens in Reading. Osmond was in the same troop of the Berkshire Yeomanry as Potts as the picture shows. Potts is 4th from the left in the back row and Walter is 2nd from the right in the front row.

Osmond was held prisoner in Turkey for the remainder of the war. I have no details of his captivity apart from a newspaper article in April 1918 asking for provisions, which were sent out by the Berkshire yeomanry Comfort’s Fund. It is documented that the prisoners were held in people’s homes in Turkey and were treated very cruelly, some say as badly as the Japanese prisoners of war in World War Two. Suffice to say that Osmond survived and returned home in 1918.






Jane Barrett

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