Walter Chatterton Royal Scots Fusiliers

  • Royal Fusiliers
DOB April 20, 1926
Landing Day army training
Surviving Today No
Date of Death January 7, 2023

Walter was born in New Mills on 20th April 1926, to a large family that included 2 step-brothers (his mother had been widowed with 2 children in World War 1). The middle child of 3 brothers and 2 sisters born to this second marriage, Walter attended the local Board School in New Mills, located in Spring Bank, and left at 14 years old to go to work at Newtown Ropery. Soon afterwards there was a vacancy for a butcher’s boy at Bowden’s Butcher’s Shop in New Mills and Walter successfully applied. He started as a delivery boy, complete with a carrier bike (similar to the picture, right) and it was here that he stayed to learn the butchery trade and become a qualified butcher.

When war was declared in September 1939 Walter was 13 and did not think that he was likely to be involved. By July 3rd 1942 (when the New Mills bombing took place) he was 16 years old and was coming back on his carrier bike from a delivery in Furness Vale. He recalls seeing the two planes flying at 200 – 300 feet high and as the bombs dropped it all happened so quickly and unexpectedly that his reaction was one of shock and surprise as he rushed back to the shop. For further details of this event:

Walter was called up at 18 years old on 4th May 1944 and enlisted in the Sherwood Foresters. The photograph of him in his first uniform was the first photograph he had ever had taken, and at 5ft 5in and weighing 7.5 st he looked very young.

He was sent for 6 weeks training in Ireland, during which time the Normandy Invasion was taking place. News was restricted whilst in training, and the events in Normandy seemed remote.

Following basic training, Walter underwent a further 10 weeks training in Lincoln, followed by 5 weeks specialist training in Northumberland. He insists that he was ‘told’ where to go, but it must be assumed that he was identified as being very fit, since his additional training was as a Commando, and on completion he was transferred to the Royal Scots Fusiliers. This training was completed by September, in time for Walter to be sent into Holland (Maars) following the failure of the Allied forces Market Garden Operation when heavy casualties needed reinforcements. He then followed through Holland with the allied forces and into Germany on the Rhine. One of the things that Walter found hard was the sight of the starving children in Europe and, like so many of his generation, he did not talk in detail about his military service, except to tell humorous stories, often against himself. Towards the end of his life he once asked: “I did alright, didn’t I?” Indeed you did Walter. Even though you weren’t in the same Campaign as other Normandy Veterans on this website, you served your country when you were needed.

Walter was demobbed in 1946 and returned to the butchery trade for the next 45 years, eventually owning his own business in Disley (Cheshire) and then moving to New Mills (Derbyshire) where he worked until his retirement. He and his wife Vera lived a long and active life as members of the New Mills Community and Chapel-en-le-Frith Golf Club and persuing their joint hobby as dog breeders.