b. 23/09/1896 Batley, Yorkshire. d. 10/04/1917 Heninel, France.
Horace Waller (1897-1917) was born at 11 Woodhill Terrace, Batley Carr, Dewsbury, Yorkshire on 23rd September 1896. His father was John Edward Waller, who ran a family plumbing business, Strickland Waller & Sons, started by his own father. Horace’s mother, Esther nee Myers, married Edward in 1891 at Pateley Bridge. Sadly, Esther died when Horace was just two in 1899, and Edward moved in with his widowed mother at 82 Upper Road, Dewsbury. He then married Sarah Ann Prescott in 1903 at Holy Trinity Church, Batley Carr.
Horace had one brother from his father’s first marriage, John Strickland Waller. He was also a plumber. Horace was educated at Miss Whitworth’s Seminary, Dewsbury, Purlwell Council School, Batley Carr 1905-1909, Batley Grammar School from 1909-1913, and Dewsbury Technical College from 1913. He was also working for the family plumbing business while at the Technical College. Horace enlisted on 30th May 1916 after twice being rejected for medical reasons. He went to France in December 1916.
On 10th April 1917, south of Heninel, France, a very violent counter-attack was made by the enemy on this post, and although five of the garrison were killed, Pte. Waller continued for more than an hour to throw bombs, and finally repulsed the attack. In the evening the enemy again counter-attacked the post and all the garrison became casualties, except Pte. Waller, who, although wounded later, continued to throw bombs for another half an hour until he was killed. Throughout these attacks he showed the utmost valour, and it was due to his determination that the attacks on this important post were repulsed.
Horace was buried in Cojeul British Cemetery, and his will was administered by his father. As he never married, his VC was presented to his parents by King George V at Buckingham Palace on 21st July 1917. In addition to his VC, he was awarded the British War Medal 1914-20 and Victory Medal 1914-19. The VC was purchased for £8,800 by Spink & Son from Christie’s on behalf of a private client on 25th February 1980. Its current whereabouts are unknown.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: NOT PUBLICLY HELD.
BURIAL PLACE: COJEUL BRITISH CEMETERY, COJEUL, FRANCE.
Cemetery Plan courtesy of Kevin Brazier
ROW C, GRAVE 55
Family Grave at Dewsbury Cemetery, Yorkshire
Batley Carr Holy Trinity Church, Batley, Yorkshire
War Illustrated, 29th September 1917