yeovil at War

Walter horace adams

Drowned alongside Lord Kitchener

 

Walter Bond was the landlord of the Railway Hotel, Hendford, and in the 1901 Census was listed there living with his wife Lydia and daughter Louisa Adams. Louisa, at the age of 23, was already a widow and was living with her parents together with her daughter Daisy aged three and two-year-old son Walter, named after her father.

In 1908 Louisa remarried, her new husband was Frank Mosley who ran a confectioner's shop in Crofton, Hampshire. The 1911 census listed Frank and Louisa living at the shop together with 12-year-old Walter, listed as Walter Mosley, and their 18-month-old son John.

It appears however that Walter, known as Wallie, under his own surname Adams, moved back to Yeovil, living with his now-retired grandparents at 32 Crofton Avenue. He was employed at the Western Gazette offices on the corner of Middle Street and to Newton Road.

During 1915 Wallie enlisted and became a Private, Service No PO/18508, in the Royal Marine Light Infantry. After training he served on board HMS Hampshire.

HMS Hampshire was one of six Devonshire-class armoured cruisers built for the Royal Navy in the first decade of the 20th century. She was assigned to the China Station in 1912 and remained there until the start of World War I in August 1914. The ship hunted for German commerce raiders until she was transferred to the Grand Fleet at the end of 1914. She was assigned to the 7th Cruiser Squadron upon her return home. She was transferred to the 2nd Cruiser Squadron in 1916 and was present at the Battle of Jutland.

The Battle of Jutland was a naval battle fought by the Royal Navy's Grand Fleet against the Imperial German Navy's High Seas Fleet. The battle was fought on 31 May and 1 June 1916 in the North Sea near Jutland, Denmark. It was the largest naval battle and the only full-scale clash of battleships in the war. Fourteen British and eleven German ships were sunk with 6,094 killed and 674 wounded on the Allied side and 2,551 Germans killed and 507 wounded. After the battle Walter sent a postcard home to say that he had survived the battle.

Several days later HMS Hampshire was sailing to Russia, carrying the Secretary of State for War, Field Marshal Lord Kitchener, when she is believed to have struck a mine laid by a German submarine. She sank with heavy loss of life, including Walter Adams, Lord Kitchener and his staff. Another Yeovil lad who went down with the Hampshire was 19-year old Harry Parsons.

On 9 June 1916 the Western Gazette reported "Among those lost through the sinking of HMS Hampshire, with Lord Kitchener and Staff on board, was Private Adams, RMLI. Private Adams, who was only 17, enlisted about twelve months ago. He was the son of Mrs L Moseley (by her first husband), and grandson of Mr W Bond, of 32 Crofton Avenue. Before joining the forces, he was employed at the “Western Gazette” Offices, and was connected with the Sports Club, being a good runner, footballer and swimmer. On Wednesday morning a postcard was received from him, saying he had come through the great battle (Jutland) quite safe, and would write a long letter later."

The following week the Western Gazette, on 15 September 1916, reported "Intimation was on Saturday received from the Admiralty that the body of Private Walter H. Adams (grandson of Mr. W. Bond of 32 Crofton Avenue), who went down with Lord Kitchener on HMS Hampshire off the Orkneys on June 5th, had been recovered from the sea and buried in the Naval Cemetery at Lyness, Orkneys."

Walter 'Wallie' Adams is buried at the Lyness Royal Navy Cemetery, Orkney, (Grave F111) and his name is recorded on the Yeovil War Memorial in the Borough.

 

gallery

 

Walter Adams, second from left, photographed with his chums before he enlisted.

 

Walter 'Wallie' Adams in uniform. Photographed circa 1915-16.

 

HMS Hampshire at anchor.

 

A memorial card produced for Wallie Adams.

 

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission certificate in memory of Walter Adams.

 

Walter's headstone.

Lyness Royal Navy Cemetery, Orkney.

Lyness Royal Naval Cemetery was begun in 1915 when Scapa Flow was the base of the Grand Fleet. Lyness remained as a Royal Naval base until July 1946 and the cemetery contains graves from both wars. There are 445 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, 109 of which are unidentified. The majority of the graves are of officers, ratings, and members of the land forces lost from HMS Hampshire, Vanguard, Narborough and Opal. The features of the cemetery were designed by Ralph Hobday.