08 May 2013

Arthur Walters

Finding the family of Arthur Walters has proved quite difficult. It took me several days to find the one key piece of information that I needed to make the story unfolded.
3294 Arthur Leslie Walters was a 20 year old from South Australia when he enlisted in August 1915. He was allocated to 27th Battalion, AIF.

Arthur was the son of Charles and Annie Walters who were originally from Scotland. Charles worked for many years with SA railways as a Station Master.
This is Charles’ obituary:

Mr. Charles Walters, who died at his residence, Brighton, was born at Truro, Cornwall, 80 years ago, and came to South Australia in the sailing ship Afgan in 1879.  Before leaving the old country he was employed by the Great Western and Great Northern Railway Companies of Great Britain.  Shortly after he arrived here he joined the South Australian railway service as signalman, and eventually became a first-class stationmaster.  He was in charge at Bugle Ranges (10 years), Penola, SE.(7 years), Mount Barker (10 years), and North Adelaide (11 years) making a total of 37 years as stationmaster.  He leaves a widow, one son (Mr. C. N. Walter, of Colac, Victoria), and one daughter (Mrs. E. Victor, of Perth).  Another son, Arthur, was killed in action at Mont St. Quentin. France, in 1918. There are four grandchildren.
Source: http://saobits.gravesecrets.net/w-x.html

Arthur fought in France but his service record provides considerably more detail about periods of hospitalisation for Bronchitis, Trench Foot and VD than the fighting he was involved in. Arthur was killed in action on 2 September 1918.
This photo of Arthur is sourced from http://www.ww1sa.gravesecrets.net/wa---wal.html

This missing person report from the Red Cross provides a first hand account of Arthur’s death.


Arthur was buried where he was killed but later exhumed and reburied in the Peronne Communal Cemetery Extension.

From Charles’ obituary, I had two leads on Arthur’s siblings. A Mr C. N Walter of Colac and Mrs E Victor of Perth. Using the electoral rolls I found Charles Montague Walters in Colac and by searching back through some birth records I established that this was the son of Charles and Annie. The obituary had the initials wrong and the surname misspelt.

Charles Montague Walters was married to Olive Mayira Osbourne and they had two daughters. Charles was an hotelier and held the license for several hotels in Victoria. In 1938 Charles moved to Sydney but left his family in Melbourne. 4 months after arriving in Sydney, Charles drowned while swimming at Bondi Beach.

This is the newspaper report:
Source: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17428334

Two men who pulled Charles from the ocean were later awarded lifesaving medals:

Source: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17477141

I lost track of Olive and her daughter’s in the 1940s. Charles and Olive did have a son, also named Charles, who died as an infant.
So with the Walters trail gone cold I looked at Arthur’s sister Mrs E Victor of Perth. This limited information proved impossible to determine exactly who I was looking for, as there were numerous people by this name. After several unsuccessful hours of searching I came across this death notice for Arthur:
Source: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article57546708

It was in this notice that I found the key. Arthur’s sister is listed as Mrs E. E. Victor of Fitzroy. A search of the electoral rolls gave me the names Ernest Edwin and Florence Mabel Gladys Victor. A check of the Victorian marriage records provided the proof that Florence’s maiden name was Walters and the child of Charles and Annie. It didn’t take long to follow Ernest and Florence to Perth as mentioned in Charles’ obituary. Ernest died in 1935 and Florence died in 1949.
From there I quickly followed the Victor line to Florence Kathleen Victor who married Wyndham John Mitchell. Their sons are Peter and David. From the electoral rolls, I had David’s middle initial and his wife’s name. A quick check of the White Pages provided a phone number in WA. I cold called David and sure enough, I had the person I was looking for. David is Arthur’s great nephew.

Thank you very much to Lorrie M who sent me Arthur’s medal after seeing the Anzac Day story on ACA. The retuned medal tally is now 1272.

Post update 29 May 2013
The other day I visited the AWM and took a photo of Arthur's name on the Roll of Honour.


  1. I am sure lorrie will be pleased with the outcome. Stirling job as always ... a credit to Australia :)

  2. God you are a wonder...my research was so unimaginative...you must have a mind like a corkscrew.
    A bit spooky that the medal has ended up back in Perth
    Very grateful to you for completing my task...now all I have left to ponder is how did we get the medal in the first place
    Lorrie M

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