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Walter Carter
WW1 Soldier's Tale

5th December 1916

Walter: Had to leave for Stoughton Barracks and the Royal West Surreys this morning, where I’m going to be training their new lads. Thankfully not too much fuss leaving home as I’ll be able to pop back now and then before I’m posted back to the front. Took over my accommodation in the Sergeant’s Mess (not bad) and drew up all the kit I lost in France – webbing, mess tins, groundsheet, that sort of thing. Just been in to see the depot Commanding Officer who says I’m not far off being fit enough to go back into active service, so chances are I won’t be staying here long. I half expected as much. Doesn’t mean I’m glad to be going back though. It’s odd – when you’re home you almost want to be back with lads at the front, but when you hear you’re actually going out again soon, you’d give anything to stay put.

Lily: Walt, I thought maybe I’d see you before you left for Stoughton…

To see Stoughton Barracks today, visit:

and to read about its history, visit

2nd December 1916

Walter: Bit of an unusual one today – when you win a gong like the Military Medal they get you going round schools talking to the children about where you’ve been with the army. So guess where I was today? Back at Shaftesbury Park! My old school. There was a bloke in before me talking about the workings of a Zeppelin so I thought I’d be a bit of let down for the kids after that but nothing of the sort. They seemed to think I was the king of the castle. Told them a bit about what it’s like being a soldier but went easy on the gory details, even though they asked. You know what young lads are like. Kept thinking what a shame it was that Fred couldn’t have come with me – he’d have loved to see the old place but, as planned, he’s back in hospital again after the wedding. Hope they can do him some good.

Lily: Good old Shaftesbury Park. Do they still have Infants on the ground floor, Junior Girls in the middle and Junior Boys on the top floor?

Walter: Just the same as when we were there, Lil. I told the boys I’m still seeing a girl I met there and they all got embarrassed!

Lily: ‘Seeing’. That’s it, is it?

To read about the Great War and education, visit

and to read about the history of Shaftesbury park School, visit

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