Corporal Walter Reginald Hart (135415)

'D' Bty, 186th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, 39th Division, B.E.F.

Malvern Commemoration: Holy Trinity North Malvern,

Burial/Commemoration: Oxford Road Cemetery

Nature of Death: Killed in action near Ypres, Flanders 12/12/1917

Age: 26

Next of Kin: Son of Sidney and Selina Hart, Eastnor, Herefordshire; husband of Alice Susan Gladwin (formerly Hart), of Market Hall St., Kington, Herefordshire.

Previous Employment: At his father's shop, Smithfield, Link Top

Walter Reginald Hart

Early years

Walter Hart was born in Redmarley d’Abitot, Gloucestershire in 1892, the son of Sidney and Selina Hart. He was one of ten surviving brothers and sisters and was baptised at Redmarley on 1st May 1892.  From how is commemorated at Pembridge, he may have been known by his middle name, Reginald.

After 1898, the family moved to Wayend Street, Eastnor.  The Harts also ran a poultry and game business at Smithfield, Link Top, Malvern.

The Hart's family business, Smithfield at Link Top.

The Hart’s family business, Smithfield at Link Top. (Emma Hart from Ancestry)

The family business

In the 1911 Census, a number of Walter’s older brothers and sisters were living at the shop at Link Top, including 23 year old Sidney and 15 year old Allen was also living there.  Walter was living at Wayend, Eastnor with his parents Selina and Sidney senior, and younger brothers and sisters. 

Walter Hart in 1912, working in the family business

Walter Hart in 1912, working in the family business (Ancestry: Arnie Hart)

Walter married Alice Susan Baker in Hereford in 1914.  They set up home at Welton Farm, Broxwood, Pembridge.  They had two daughters – Beatrice born in Malvern in 1915 and Dorothy born in Kington, Herefordshire in 1917.  Tragically Beatrice, known as Bunny, died in 1918, aged 3.

First World War

Walter Hart as a Lance Bombardier in the Royal Field Artillery.

Walter Hart as a Lance Bombardier in the Royal Field Artillery. (Ancestry: Arnie Hart)

Walter was sent overseas for service in France and Flanders sometime after January 1916.  In 1917 he was serving with D Battery, 186th Brigade as Royal Field Artillery, part of 39th Divisional Artillery.  As a Corporal, and not a Bombardier (the equivalent rank) it is likely that Walter’s trade was a driver, responsible for moving battery’s field guns rather than a gunner, responsible for firing the artillery pieces.

A Players Cigarette Card illustrating 39 Division

A Players Cigarette Card illustrating 39 Division

On 7th December 1917, Walter’s battery came into the line north of Zonnebeke, around 1 km west of the present day Tyne Cot Cemetery.  On 12th December, Walter was killed in action.

News reaches Pembridge

The Kington Times reported Walter’s death on 2nd February 1918.  

“Mrs Hart of Broxwood, Pembridge, has received the news of the death of her husband, Corpl Walter Hart R.F.A. who was killed in action on December 11th.  Corpl Hart who was 26 years of age, was the son of Mr and Mrs Hart of Eastnor and son-in-law of Mr and Mrs Albert Baker, The Whettons.  Much sympathy is felt with the widow and her two children in their bereavement.”


Today Walter Hart lies buried in Oxford Road Cemetery. Oxford Road was the name given to a road running behind the support trenches, from a point west of the village of Wieltje south-eastwards to the Potijze-Zonnebeke road.

Walter Hart's grave in Oxford Road Cemetery in 2008.

Walter Hart’s grave in Oxford Road Cemetery in 2008.

Plot 1 is the original Oxford Road Cemetery and was used by the units fighting on this front from August 1917 to April 1918. In October 1917, another cemetery, known as Oxford Road Cemetery No. 2, was started close by and now forms Plot V of the cemetery as it appears today.  Walter is buried in this plot.

After the Armistice, Plots II, III and IV were added when scattered graves from the battlefields east and south-east of Ypres (now Ieper) were brought into the cemetery. The cemetery was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.

Walter is also commemorated at St John the Baptist, Eastnor and on the Pembridge War Memorial Cross, where he is recorded as Reginald.

The war memorial at Eastnor Church showing all three Hart brothers.

The war memorial at Eastnor Church showing all three Hart brothers. © Clive Longbottom (WMR-32837)

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

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