William Paul (Layton) Walton

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William Paul (Layton) Walton
Personal Information
Date of Birth c1897
Place of Birth Cotterston, Yorkshire, England
Death 16 Apr 1917
Place of Death Rouen, France
Age at Enlistment 18 years old
Description 5'7" (1.70m) tall ; 130 lbs
58.967 kg
; fair complexion ; grey eyes ; light brown hair
Occupation Farm hand
Religion Church of England
Address Serpentine, Western Australia
Next of Kin Father , Mr William Walton
Military Information
Reg Number 2027
Date of Enlistment 20 Mar 1916
Rank Private
Unit/Formation 51st Battalion, 3rd Reinforcement /13th Brigade, 4th Division
Date of Embarkation 18 Jul 1916 ‒ 9 Sep 1916
Ship Embarked On HMAT A48 Seang Bee
Fate Wounded in Action 2 Apr 1917 at Vaux-Vracourt
Died of Wounds 16 Apr 1917
Monument Mundijong Honour Roll
Serpentine Roll of Honour
ANZAC Memorial Park (Byford)
Australian War Memorial
Medals British War Medal
Victory Medal

Pre War

War Service

While he signed his attestation papers on 3 Mar 1916, Layton didn't enter Blackboy Hill camp until 20 Mar 1916. On 4 Apr 1916 he was allocated to the 3rd reinforcement draft for the 51st Battalion and proceeded with them to England.

Proceeded overseas to France from Folkestone on 28 Nov 1916 aboard SS Princess Henriette, joining the 4th Division's Base Depot in Le Havre before moving forward to join the 51st Battalion in the field. Layton was taken on strength by the 51st Battalion on 14 Dec 1916 while they were billeted in Buire-sur-l'Ancre south west of Albert. Soon after they moved to Vignacourt where they remained for Christmas and New Year's Day 1917. On 3 Jan 1917 they moved back to the Flers area and cycled in and out of the front lines until 23 Feb 1917 when they moved back to a rest area.

The 51st Battalion moved back into the front line on 22 Mar 1917 near Lagnicourt and prepared for an attack on the village of Noreuil, north-east of Bapaume, scheduled for 2 Apr 1917. At 3:40am that day the 51st Battalion was in position for the attack when the Australian barrage started, and they advanced behind the barrage taking about 80 casualties from machine gun fire from both flanks of the village before they reached it.

At 7:30am, the enemy shelled the right hand company of the battalion with high explosive and shrapnel as it had begun to dig in near a sunken roadway with a commanding view of the country in front of it. This shelling continued until 11:00am, killing and wounding about 30 men. It is likely that this was when Layton was wounded having received a penetrating shrapnel wound to his back and chest.

Treated by the 13th Field Ambulance he was evacuated to the 6th General Hospital in Rouen on 7 Apr 1917 where he died from his wounds on 16 Apr 1917.

Layton's Red Cross file provides some detail [1].
"I have to inform you he was admitted to this hospital on 7.4.17 suffering from GSW to Chest (penetrating) from which he never showed signs of recovering. He died in spite of all treatment at 1:45am 16.4.17 being buried in St. Sever Cemetery Rouen. " OC No 6 General Hospital.
  • St Sever Cemetery Extension
  • Commonwealth War Graves Commission


  1. "Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Files - William Paul Walton". Australian War Memorial. 2018. Retrieved 2 May 2018. 

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