Durham Light Infantry Badge

301883 Private Walter Houseman KIA]

28364 Kings Royal Rifle Corps
48668 91st Training Reserve Battalion
6262 18th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry
301883 1st/8th Battalion Durham Light Infantry
151st Brigade, 50th Northumbrian Division

Badge, Kings Royal Rifle Corps
Kings Royal Rifle Corps Badge
This file last updated 8 August, 2023 13:18


Walter Houseman
Walter Houseman
[Image courtesy of C Gary Houseman]

Walter Houseman (22 Sep 1888-12 Apr 1918) was the eldest child of George Houseman and Emma Chambers of West Yorkshire UK.

Employed as a farmer at Deering House Farm at the time of his enlistment, he was unmarried and gave his mother, Emma Houseman as his next of kin.

He enlisted at Harrogate for entry into military service on 9 Dec 1915, but was not called up until mobilised on 15 Jun 1916 and posted to the Kings Royal Rifle Corps as Rifleman No 28364. On 1 Sep 1916 he was transferred to the 91st Training Reserve Battalion as number 49668.

He landed in France on 15 Nov 1916 and was posted to the 18th Battalion Durham Light Infantry as number 6262 and on the 19th of November, before he had time to memorise his latest Regimental Number, was transferred as Private, number 301883 to the 1st/8th Battalion, 151st Brigade of the 50th Northumbrian Division.

The Battalion relieved a Portuguese unit at Neuf Berquin on the night of 8/9 Apr  1918 and was in action almost immediately. The 50th Division was outnumbered almost 4 to 1 by the Germans and was virtually destroyed after four days of fighting.

Walter was killed in action (KIA) on 12 April 1918 and at the end of the war he was awarded the British War Medal 1914-18 and the Victory Medal.

His body was unable to be recovered and he is memorialised on Panel 8 and 9 of the Ploegsteert Memorial in Flanders as well as well as the little church behind Dacre. Both the plaque and the church are shown below.

This Certificate records details of his Memorial.

On 13 Apr 1918 the Division was relieved in place by the 5th Division. The Brigades of the 50th were reorganised as Battalions and the 1st/8th Battalion was reorganised as a Company - which will give an idea of the casualties. The history of the Durham Light Infantry records that the unit was 'reduced to cadre strength 15 Jun 1918'.

Walter's younger brother George Houseman also served in WW1. He survived but was wounded in action (WIA).

Walter Houseman is the grand uncle of Clive Mitchell-Taylor and brother-in-law of Stephen Downes who served in the AIF and married Walter's sister Rosa Houseman in Stockton NSW in 1919. See Walter's full military history at C Gary Houseman's Houseman Family site.

Memorial Plaque Chapel near Dacre

British War Medal 1914-20

[Extract from Ribbons and Medals: Naval, Military, Air Force and Civil, Captain H. Taprell Dorling, DSO RN,
George Philip & Son, 33 Fleet Street, London EC4, 1940]
British War Medal

This medal was approved by King George V in 1919 to record the bringing of the war to a successful conclusion and the arduous services rendered by His Majesty's Forces.

The medal, which is supended from its ribbon by means of a straight clasp, without swivel, bears on the obverse the effigy of His Majesty - exactly similar to that on a half-crown - with the legend 'Georgivus V : Omn : Rex et Ind : Imp'.

The reverse bears a design which represents St George on horseback, trampling underfoot the eagle shield of the central powers and a skull and crossbones, the emblems of death. Overhead is the risen sun of victory. The male figure, rather than a symbolical female one, was chosen because man had borne the brunt of the fighting. The figure was mounted on horseback as symbolical of man's mind controlling force (represented by the horse) of far greater strength than his own. The design is thus also symbolical of the mechanical and scientific appliances which helped so largely to win the war.

The ribbon has a orange watered centre with stripes of white and black at each side and with borders of royal blue. It is stated that the colours have no particular signification.

Victory Medal

[Extract from Ribbons and Medals: Naval, Military, Air Force and Civil, Captain H. Taprell Dorling, DSO RN,
George Philip & Son, 33 Fleet Street, London EC4, 1940]

This medal, of bronze, bears on the obverse a winged figure of Victory, full length in the middle of the medal and full face; the borders and the backgound plain, without either incription or date. On the reverse is an inscription. "The Great War for Civilization." and either the names of the different Allied and Associated Powers, or their coats of arms.

The rim is plain, and the medal hangs from a ring. The ribbon is red in the centre, with green and violet on either side shaded to form the colours of two rainbows.

It has also been approved that any officer or man who has been "mentioned in despatches" shall wear a small bronze oak leaf on the ribbon of this medal. Only one oak leaf is so worn, no matter how many "mentions" the wearer may have received.

The medal is designed to obviate the exchange of Allied Commemorative war medals, and is issued only to those who actually served on the establishment of a unit or ship in a theatre of war. [This is an important distinction, as those Australians who served only in Australia, or only in Australia and England, were not entitled to the award.]