Lance-Corporal Walter Sampson Poskitt, 4736555, York & Lancaster Regiment
Walter Sampson Poskitt was born on the 8th October 1900 in Glasshoughton, the son of Castleford born coal miner Frederick Hardy Poskitt and his wife Martha Ann (nee Cupit) who had married on the 18th February 1893 at All Saints Church, Castleford. Martha Ann had been born in Stanley, near Tibshelf in Derbyshire. In 1891, she had worked as a general servant for a doctor in Bakewell, Derbyshire before moving north and marrying Fred Poskitt.
In 1901, Fred Poskitt, 27 years, a hewer in a coal mine and his family, now with four children are living at Church Field, Glasshoughton. Walter is a five months old having been baptised on the 31st October 1900 at the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Glasshoughton.
Above: Sketch by the late Douglas Brammer of Eldon Terrace, Flushdyke, Ossett once the home of Walter Sampson Poskitt, but now long since demolished.
In 1911, the Poskitt family, now with seven children are living at 14, Eldon Terrace, Flushdyke, Ossett and Walter is still at school. Fred Poskitt, 38 years is working in a local coal mine, most probably at nearby Roundwood. The Poskitt family was now complete: Minnie b. 1893 in Pontefract; Lily b. 1895 in Pontefract; Joseph Frederick b. 1898 in Pontefract; Walter Sampson b. 1900 in Glasshoughton; Maggie b. 1903 in Castleford; Wesley b. 1905 in Castleford and a daughter May Caroline Poskitt born in Ossett in early 1910.
In early 1915, Walter Poskitt's mother Martha Ann died at the age of 40 years, and on the 10th June 1916 at the Primitive Methodist Chapel, Ossett Common, Fred Poskitt married for a second time to Clara Jobson, who at 28 years was 16 years younger. They both gave their address as 19 South Parade, Ossett Common. They had a son Ernest born in 1917 and two daughters: Eveleyn born in 1919 and Joyce, born in 1920. Fred Poskitt emigrated to Australia with his new wife, son and two daughters in 1927 accompanied by his son Wesley and youngest daughter May Caroline from his first marriage. At the time, the Poskitt family were living at Spring Cottage, Blackley, Elland.
Meanwhile in 1921, 20-year-old Walter Poskitt had joined the British Army and was serving with the Mechanical Transport Company, Royal Army Service Corps in Baghdad (Iraq) as part of the Mesopotamia Expeditionary Force after the British took control of what is now Iraq and parts of Iran. He was later awarded a General Service Medal with the Iraq and N.W. Persia Clasps.
The General Service Medal (GSM) was first introduced in 1918 as an Army and RAF equivalent to the Naval General Service Medal (NGSM). The medal is used in place of a specific campaign medal, with clasps added to the medal to denote the campaign.
In early 1932, Walter married 23-year-old local girl Annie Marie Weston in Dewsbury. They went on to have five children all born in Dewsbury: Gwendoline b. 1933; Donald b. 1934; Randolph Alfred b. 1936; Walter H. b. 1939 and Gerald A. born and died in 1940. The local press reported that at his inquest Gerald was found dead in his pram aged three months.
In 1939, Walter Poskitt is working as a postman with a round in Mirfield and living with his family in Brook Square, John Street, Ravensthorpe, Dewsbury.
Poskitt must have enlisted in 1939 or more likely in 1940 as a Private in the York & Lancaster Regiment. WW2 started on the 3rd September 1939 and Walter Poskitt is recorded as being in or at the Infantry Training Centre (ITC) at the time of his death. The York and Lancaster Regiment Infantry Training Centre No. 7 was based at Lincoln during WW2 and Poskitt was promoted to Lance-Corporal whilst at 7 ITC.
On the 31st of January 1941 during a black-out Poskitt was boarding a ship at Jarrow, South Tyneside and accidentally fell into the River Tyne and drowned. His body was not found until June 1941. Jarrow was famous during WW2 for shipbuilding and was targeted by German bombers.
"Soldier Drowned - A verdict of 'Accidentally Drowned' while going onboard a ship during the black-out last January was recorded at a South Shields inquest yesterday on a 40-year-old soldier, Walter Sampson Poskitt of Dewsbury, Yorkshire, whose body was recovered from the River Tyne on Monday." 1
Seven years after the death of her husband Walter, 38-year-old Annie Marie Poskitt married in Dewsbury in late 1948 for a second time to 38-year-old Dewsbury man Charles Gott, who appeared to have separated from his wife Sarah circa 1936. Annie Marie died in 1952.
Lance-Corporal Walter Sampson Poskitt died on the 31st January 1941 at the age of 40 years, the husband of Annie Maria Poskitt, of Ravensthorpe, Dewsbury. He is buried at Dewsbury Cemetery in the Consecrated Section K. in Grave 187. He is also remembered on the St Saviours Church, Ravensthorpe War Memorial shown below and also on a plaque at the Dewsbury Cenotaph.
Private Walter S. Poskitt is remembered on the war memorial inside St. Saviour's Church, Ravensthorpe. The name plaque is inscribed "1939-1945 Also in loving memory of those who gave their lives in the Second World War."
Walter Sampson Poskitt's name was quietly added to the Ossett War Memorial with little or no notice in October 2023.
1. "Newcastle Journal" - Thursday, 12th June 1941