Walter Astley was one of four sons of Alfred and Catherine Astley of Bisbrooke. Catherine had been born in the village. The couple lived in Birmingham for a time but when Catherine died in 1905, Alfred moved back to Bisbrooke where he worked as a shoemaker. Walter was a professional soldier who had joined the Royal Field Artillery before the First World War broke out. He went out with the British Expeditionary Force, sailing from Southampton on 16 August 1914. He fought at Mons and a few weeks later was wounded by shrapnel in his right thigh. He came home to England to recover before rejoining his unit. There is a gap in our knowledge from this point. We know from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission he served with A Battery 92nd Brigade and survived the war only to die two weeks after it ended, but from what, we do not know. He is buried at the Solesmes British Cemetery in France, grave I.E.8, and is remembered on Bisbrooke's war memorial. Two of Walter's brothers were serving in 1914, William with the Royal Field Artillery and Henry (known as Harry) with the Army Service Corps.
Thank you to Camilla Brandal for her research into Walter which has enabled us to tell his story more fully.
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