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Walter Carter
WW1 Soldier's Tale

31st March 1914

Walter: What a fine day!  Nice to have some sunshine at last.  Making the best of it on the platforms at Clapham Junction but wish I was playing footie in the park with Fred Dickenson and John Moore... Looking forward to TF training tonight though. Physical, so we might get to practise outside.
Fred: At least you get to work in the sun, I’m on the wrong side of the platform all today.
Walter: You’ll be laughing when it rains… See you on parade at 7.

To find out more about the Territorial Force during Walter's time go to http://www.1914-1918.net/tf.htm

29th March 1914

Walter: Boys, there’s plans to protest against the government sending forces to Ulster. Not sure when yet, but there’s a march starting from Battersea so I’ll be going even if I have to take a day off.  I want the army to know we all support them - even us Territorials wouldn’t think of going up there to fight.
Fred: You’re right there Walt, you wouldn’t catch me fighting against our own. Hope the army can stick it. I ain’t afraid to fight, mind - hopefully one day we’ll get to use our training against a real enemy.
John: Count me in. This scandal has made me sick. The papers said even the Germans think it’s a rum job and the French don’t know why we’re fighting amongst ourselves.

Ed: It’s not going to make a bit of difference, Walt. Just tell the station you’re going to go and then hook it for the day.

Mary: Edward Carter, you’re a toerag. Leave your brother alone, he’s a good boy. Your father and I are very proud of you, Walter.

27th March 1914

Walter: You can bet I put a whole shilling on Sunloch to win The Grand National! That’s 16 shillings in my pocket. I feel like a king. Nearly a week’s wages! I could treat myself and Lily to a night in the stalls at the Grand or go to the Fox and Hounds with the lads and get pints of Burton all round… or give it to Ma for housekeeping. Humph. Decisions…

Ed: Get the Burton in, lad.

Ma: Don’t listen to your brother, that’s just the sort of thing he’d say. And me with 5 mouths to feed! We’ll talk about this later, Walter.

Walter: Yes, Ma.

To find out more about the 1914 Grand National visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1914_Grand_National

24th March 1914

Mary: Charles, Ed, Rose, Walter, have a look at your grown up little sister. She insisted on having her picture taken in town and now the photographer says he might put it up in the window of the studio. He let me help to hold her and she sat up so nice you never would have known about her poor legs.

Charles: Well that’s a nice picture alright. I do miss you all and especially little Annie. She’s so much bigger than when I was last at home. How’s she getting on with her walking?

Rose: Beautiful grown up girl. Tell Annie her big sister is going to kiss her all over that little face when I’m next at home.

Mary: She’s going on alright with the walking, Charles, but only with my help and the sticks what Doctor Clarke gave us. She gets quite out of breath too, so we’re careful, but I still tell your father I shan’t think of having her sent to one of them schools for cripples.

Mabel: Didn’t know you had a little sister as well as a big one Walt! Did she get the polio?

Walter: Yes, she got it when it went around that hot summer. Poor kid. Is it ‘infantile paralysis’ they call it Ma?

Mary: I’m afraid your father’s not very pleased with us for discussing Annie in public... Mabel I would be glad if you didn’t pass this on to your parents.

Mabel: I shan’t say anything Mrs Carter.

To find out more about the disease Polio and how this would have affected Annie's education visit

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_poliomyelitis
http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CDYQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.worldofinclusion.com%2Fres%2Fqca%2FSchooling_for_disabled_pupils_1900-1950.doc&ei=CmUoU4-dBIau7AaOvICADQ&usg=AFQjCNH9zSCONkmIlmEBkaLPZ5k6zLKUnA&sig2=U_sxdfpDOLOJXBobuHn07Q&bvm=bv.62922401,d.ZGU

21st March 1914

Walter: Charlie, the Express says 100 army officers have resigned over the Ulster issue – is that right? Says they’re not going to serve against our countrymen. Brave chaps.

Charles: That’s right Walt – it’s all anyone talks about over here. Wouldn’t get your hopes up yet though. We hear they’re still sending warships over here.

19th March 1914

Walter: Charles, saw this article in the paper. You and the army boys wouldn’t fight against them, would you?

Charles: Sorry you haven’t had a line from me little brother – been busy here in sunny Ireland... Of course none of us wants a war with Ulster, just got to hope the government sees sense.

Walter: Might be an early election because of this, so they might have to.

Charles: Good news. Keep telling me what the papers are saying and what people think of us back in London.

To find out more about the Home Rule crisis visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_Rule_Crisis http://www.1914-1918.net/regular.htm

16th March 1914

Walter: Well done to my beautiful Lily Ann Howes for her fresh job at Arding and Hobbs, right on the crossroads by Clapham Junction – only a few steps from work, and from the drill hall. She’ll be able to hear me ringing my porter’s bell. Proud of you Lil - just don’t go getting ideas from them flash ladies coming in for ‘harem’ pantaloons.

Mary: Well done Lily; what a grand opportunity. All these independent young women, Walter! You’ll have to make sure you treat her right else she’ll give you the chuck…

Fred: That’s fine news. Are you not becoming a teacher now?

Lily: Thanks everyone. Who knows, Lily Howes might become a fashionable lady after all! Fred, I still hope to go to training college, just maybe when I’ve got a bit more money.

Mabel: Don’t worry Walt, all that clobber’s too dear to buy anyway. I should say we’ll have a fine time! Mrs Reed ought to give me some time to show you what’s what on Wednesday Lil - you’ll be getting on alright in no time.

Clapham Junction

To find out more about life in and around Battersea use the following links

http://www.claphamjunction.co.uk/arding-and-hobbs/
http://www.ww1schools.com/trainee-teachers.html
http://www.queensofvintage.com/the-man-who-broke-the-rules-fashion-designer-paul-poiret

12th March 1914

Walter: You won’t believe what happened today at work. I was carrying cases to Platform 2 as normal when I heard a commotion from across the tracks. What do I see next but Fred Dickenson chasing hell for leather after five chickens, with a bunch of people chasing after him! Turns out he dropped a fancy-looking trunk, it burst open and out came these squawking birds. So I left my gentleman with his cases and set off at a lick down the station (TF training coming in useful!) It took us half an hour at least to round them all up and the tracks was covered in feathers. The Stationmaster was not pleased.

Fred: Thanks for sharing that, pal… crikey, the things some folk bring on a train. My hands is covered in scratches. Best place for them birds is on the kitchen table.

Lily: Poor Fred!

Ma: Shame you couldn’t bring one home for the Sunday roast. Sounds like you earned it.

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Now available as a Paperback and on Kindle
Walter Carter
WW1 Soldier's Tale