Private; Second Lieutenant
Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge’s Own)
Place of birth:
Date of death:
Cause of death:
Killed in action
Grave or panel reference:
I. C. 14
Name of father:
Robert Thomson Wallace
Name of siblings:
Robert Alexander, Arthur Frederick, Lillian Maud, Florence Adelaide, Emily, Elizabeth, Alexander John, Kate Marion, Edith Ann, Ethel Alice, Constance May, George William
Name(s) of children:
Date of birth:
Place of enlistment:
France and Flanders
Age at death:
Cemetery or memorial:
Dartmoor Cemetery, Becordel-Becourt
St Mellitus Church, St Mark's Church and London Scottish House, Westminster
Name of mother:
Emily Caroline Wallace (née Wheeler)
Name of spouse:
81 Wray Crescent, Finsbury Park
Walter Mackenzie Wallace was born on 21 February 1891, the 11th of 13 children of Robert Thomson Wallace and Emily Caroline Wallace (née Wheeler). Three brothers and seven sisters preceded him, one of each followed him, and he was but a month old when he first appeared in a Census. Walter’s father, a native of Edinburgh who had moved to London when his widowed mother married her second husband, was a builder, and his mother had worked as a servant. The family lived in Wray Crescent, Finsbury Park.
Walter was educated at Tollington High School in Tollington Park, a few hundred yards from the family home. Although nothing but the school’s entrance survives to this day, it led to the founding in 1901 of a second establishment, Tollington School Muswell Hill, that is now Fortismere School. And it is from the Autumn 1915 edition of the school magazine, The Tollingtonian, that much of our information about him comes.
The In Memoriam section carries a photograph of Walter alongside this entry: ‘W. M. Wallace, 2nd Lieut., 12th Middlesex, first went on service in the London Scottish, was wounded, and on his recovery took a commission in the Middlesex Regiment. On the 21st October he was killed by the explosion of a missile that was thrown by the enemy into the trench where he was working. He was a keen gymnast and a prominent member and worker at New Court Congregational Church, Tollington Park.’
In the 1911 Census, Walter had been listed as working as an assistant at a colonial outfitter’s and was still living at home, and the Wallaces had inched their way around the horseshoe-shaped Wray Crescent from No 46 to No 81. They later inched their way back to No 51, while at No 74 lived Clarissa Wallace, widow of Walter’s oldest brother Robert, who had moved back to the area from Muswell Hill following the death of her husband in 1906.
Walter, his younger brother George, and their nephew Robert, Clarissa’s son, all served in the First World War. Few records survive of his service. As a Private with the 14th (County of London) Battalion, London Regiment (London Scottish), he was listed as “wounded” by the War Office in December 1914. And the next record of Walter is of his death, by which time he was a Second Lieutenant with the 12th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge’s Own).
He is commemorated at Dartmoor Cemetery in Becordel-Becourt on the Somme, where the inscription on the cross that marks his grave reads: “Greater love hath no man than that he give his life as he did cheerfully.” His name appears on memorial plaques at St Mellitus, where both his parents and sister Ethel were members, St Mark’s Church in Tollington Park and London Scottish House, Westminster. George and Robert survived the war.