I stand out on the left at the annual Battle of Katia memorial service at the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars memorial just outside Gloucester Cathedral yesterday, Sunday 22nd April. My grandfather, Charles Henry “Harry” Walter, was a volunteer in “D” Squadron with his horse, Susie from August 1914 to April 1918.
Two days after this report (below) in the Western Daily Press, my grandfather went to the recruiting station in Bristol and signed up.
He’s obviously not recorded on any war memorials, because he was lucky enough to survive the war and live to a ripe old age.
As is often said, you don’t get your name recorded in wartime unless you are dead, bad or get commended for an astonishingly brave act.
When Harry volunteered, his first port of call was Newbury Racecourse, where his regiment were training with their horses on Greenham Common.
After months of training on horseback, the regiment shipped off to Egypt. They left their horses there and fought as infrantrymen in Gallipoli. It seems a bit daft after all that training with horses, but perhaps that was one of the many “cock-ups” of the Dardanelles Campaign – I don’t know. I learnt yesterday that the Hussars insisted on continuing to wear their spurs on their boots during the Gallipoli campaign, even though they were on foot, to remind everyone that they were really cavalrymen!