Walter Darby

M2/076432 Private, 338th MTC, RASC

Army Service Corps cap badge, WW1
Army Service Corps cap badge, WW1

Walter Darby is of one of the men on the Bottesford ‘church list’ of WW1 Servicemen, and was also recorded as an Absentee Voter in 1918/19. He was the brother of Fred Darby, who was killed in September 1918 and is commemorated on the War Memorial in Bottesford St Mary’s parish church, and Sid Darby, whose service record we have been unable to find.

Family background

Walter was born in Hull in 1892, the son of William Darby (born in January, 1866, at Grantham) and Elizabeth Millhouse Lilly (born in 1864 at Woolsthorpe-by-Belvoir). His parents married in 1887 in Grantham, but by the date of the 1891 census were living at Sculcoates, Kingston-upon-Hull, where William Darby was working as a fitter. At the time of William’s early death in July 1897, in Sculcoates, there were two sons, Walter and Fred, and they were expecting their third child, Sidney, who was born in March 3rd, 1898.

Elizabeth Darby returned to Bottesford with her children, and married Charles Guy in 1900. In March 1901, the census recorded the family living at 5 Retford Cottages, a terraced yard off Chapel Street. Charles Guy was recorded as an agricultural labourer, born in Bottesford. Interestingly, all three boys were classed in the census as his sons.

By the 1911 census, they had moved three doors to 8 Retford’s Cottages. Walter and Fred were both recorded as boarders, presumably because they were working and able to pay towards their keep. Sydney was still at school and there were in addition three children of Elizabeth and Charles Guy, named Ada, Harry and Arthur. Walter was now 18 and Fred 16, both working as gardener’s boys at a local nursery.

Service records

Few details of Walter Darby’s military service have been found, but he was registered as an Absentee Voter in 1918/19, his address as Chapel Street, Bottesford. The entry recorded that his Service Number was M/2/076432, and that he was a Private in the 338th MTC (Motor Transport Corps), RASC (Royal Army Service Corps). He was awarded the Victory Medal and the British War Medal.

After the end of the war

The banns were read on the 22nd June, 1919, for the marriage of Walter Darby to Florence Ada Clarke, from Horbling, Lincolnshire. The wedding took place later that year at Horbling.

In the 1939 Register, they were recorded at Hall Fields, Village Street, West Bridgeford. Here lived Walter Darby, born on the 11th December, 1892, a “chauffeur mechanic”, and his wife Florence A. Darby, who was born on the 7th February, 1890.

Walter Darby died in 1973, aged 77, at Basford, Nottingham. Florence also died in Basford, in 1966, aged 76.

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