Our second remembrance today is for Billingborough man, Walter Carrington of the 2nd battalion Lincolnshire Regiment, who was officially reported killed on this day 101 years ago.
Walter is remembered on the Thiepval memorial and also on the Roll of Honour in St Andrew’s Church Billingborough.
Walter Carrington was born in 1883 and his baptism record in 1884 shows he is the son of William Carrington of Billingborough and his wife Jane Gibson. William had actually died in 1880 and Jane had remarried to John Johnson just before Walter’s baptism.
In 1891 Walter Carrington was listed on the census as the stepson of John Johnson but by 1901 he was using the name Walter Johnson for the census.
Walter Married in 1915 to Flora Stead, born in Wittering by then a resident in Castle Bytham.
They had a son John Frederick Carrington born April 30th 1916 in Billingborough.
In January 1916 conscription was introduced for every unmarried man between the age of 18 and 41. Within a few months this was rolled out to include married men although certain occupations were exempt and could appeal.
Walter joined the 2nd battalion Lincolnshire regiment on 14th July 1916 in Grantham.
Listed on the attestation paper fro Walter is Wife Flora, Son John plus Walter’s 2 step sisters and 3 step brothers, along with his mother Jane Johnson.
Walter was trained with the 9th Service Battalion at Brocton before being shipped to Calais on the 14th November with a posting to the 8th Service Battalion. Walter was eventually posted to the 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment on 28th November 1916 went on active duty for his new Battalion.
By March 1917 the Battalion were in action on the Somme section of the Western Front in the area between Bapaume and Peronne.
Taken from the 2nd Battalion Diary;
On the 1st March 1917 the battalion moved back to dugouts in Junction Wood and into Brigade Reserve. The 2nd saw them move up to dugouts and cellars in Lockbarracks and Bouchavesne again in brigade reserve where they remained on the 3rd March.
At 5:15am on the 4th the 8th Division carried out an attack east of Bouchavesnes to gain the high ground from which the enemy had observation of our positions.
The battalion was detailed for the following duties in support of the 2nd Royal Berkshire Regiment who were the assaulting battalion of the 25th infantry Brigade. “C” company and half of “D” company as moppers up “B” company and the other half of “D” company as carriers. “A” Company and the battalion lewis gunners hold the front line from which the attack was launched.
The attack was most successful and all objectives gained. 1 officer killed, 2 wounded and 1 missing. Other ranks, 18 Killed, 33 wounded and 13 missing. The Division listed 1137 casualties from the operation most from artillery fire in the initial attack.
Retaliatory artillery fire and counter attack continued for several days afterwards and the operation was seen as a complete success allowing the new position to menace the enemy defences to the south towards Peronne. It has been said that this operation played a small part in the German decision to retire to the Hindenburg line two weeks earlier than planned.
Walter was listed as missing on the 4th March 1917, less than 4 months after arriving in France. Official records on the 22nd December 1917 showed acceptance that he was killed either on or after the 4th March during the operation described.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission:
In memory of Private Walter Carrington, 26870, 2nd Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment who died on 4 March 1917, Age 33.
Son of Mrs Johnson of Horbling, Billingborough, Lincs; husband of Flora Carrington of Castle Bytham, Grantham, Lincs
Remembered with honour, Thiepval Memorial.