Walter Leonard Elliott was born on 30 November 1891 in Shepherds Bush, London, the second of the four children of Frederick Elliot (1857-1940) and Harriett Elliot née Green (1861-1934). His birth was registered in the 1st quarter of 1892 in the Fulham registration district.
In the 1901 census he is shown as a 9-year-old boy living at 14 Ealing Park Gardens, Ealing, with his parents and two siblings: Gertrude Elliott (1894-1902) and Frederick Harold Elliott (1896-1971). His father was described as a printer (compositor).
When his father completed his 1911 census return form, it shows the family were living in a five roomed property at 17 Stourcliffe Street, Edgware Road, London, W. He was described as a student (scholastic profession) residing with his parents, his brother Frederick Harold Elliott and a male boarder. His father described himself as a printer and his youngest child as a schoolboy.
In September 1914 he enlisted as a private in the 5th (City of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (London Rifle Brigade), service number 844 and entered France on 24 January 1915. On 28 November 1915 he was commissioned as Lieutenant in The Rifle Brigade.
He was serving in the regiment's 9th Battalion when he died, aged 24 years, on 21 November 1916 in a training accident in France and his body was buried in Plot 2, Row B, Grave 16 in the Avesnes-le-Comte Communal Cemetery Extension, 2 Rue Maclou, 62810 Avesnes-le-Comte, France.
On 21 November 1916 the Officer Commanding the 9th Battalion, The Rifle Brigade, Lt. Col. F. A. V. Pickering, wrote to Frederick Elliott as follows:- "It is with the deepest regret that I am writing to tell you that W. L. Elliott of this Battalion had a very serious accident this morning, owing to the premature bursting of a bomb, and I cannot truth-fully say that there is any hope of his recovery. The circumstances were as follows: The Battalion Bombers, of which he was in charge, had been throwing live bombs and had ﬁnished the practice. Two bombs were left which were thrown respectively by Sergt. Gerrard, the Battalion Bombing Sergeant, and Lieut."Elliott. The former had just thrown his bomb, and the latter was in the act of throwing. The bomb must have burst almost in his hand as it took of two of his ﬁngers and took him in the back of the head, and also wounded Sergt. Gerrard in the arm.
The doctor arrived a very short time after the accident, and Elliott was still alive when the ambulance arrived and motored him away to the hospital, but from what our doctor tells me there is little or no hope. He was unconscious from the ﬁrst and I am thankful to say did not suffer any pain. Lieut. Elliott was selected by me as the Battalion Bombing Officer about a month ago - a post which you probably know is somewhat sought after and only given to a competent and efficient officer, and he was carrying out his duties well, and I considered him as one of the most promising young ofﬁcers of the Battalion.
You can readily imagine how doubly sorry I am to have to write and report this accident, but I am pleased to be able to say that poor Elliott was not in the least to blame. I hope you will allow me to offer my sincerest condolences to his relations on this accident".
By 18 December 1917 his army effects totalling £63-15s-8d were sent to father who was also sent his £6-10s-0d war gratuity He was posthumously awarded the 1914-1915 Star, the British War Medal 1914-1918 and the Victory Medal. These were sent to his father at 17 Stourcliffe Street, Edgware Road, London.
He is commemorated in the 'Teaching Staff' section of the London County Council Record of War Service 1914-1918 Memorial Book, in which the entry reads: 'Elliott, Walter Leonard (1914-1916); Lieutenant, Rifle Brigade; France 17 months; Accidentally killed, 21st November, 1916'. He is also commemorated on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's website, on the Imperial War Museum's Lives of the First World War website and is shown as Elliott.W.L. Lieut. Lon.Rifle.Brig. on the Quebec Chapel war memorial.
Credit for this entry to: Andrew Behan.