|Date of Birth||October 24, 1891|
|Place of Birth||Elmira, Waterloo County, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||George Lang (father), Quill Lake, Saskatchewan|
|Trade / Calling||Farmer|
|Religion||Listed as Church of England but he was Lutheran|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||Quill Lake, Saskatchewan|
|Address at Enlistment||Quill Lake, Saskatchewan|
|Date of Enlistment||16/03/1916|
|Age at Enlistment||24|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||27/08/1918|
|Age at Death||26|
|Buried At||No known grave; commemorated on the Vimy Memorial in France|
Private Walter William Lang of Quill Lake, Saskatchewan enlisted in March 1916 at age 24. He served overseas with the 28th Battalion and he was killed in August 1918, during the Hundred Days Offensive.
Walter was the oldest son of George Lang and Catherine Daum. George and Catherine were both born in Woolwich Township, Waterloo County, Ontario. They were married there in 1890 and Walter was born on 24 October 1891 in the village of Elmira in Woolwich Township. He was followed by his sisters Louise Gertrude (1893) and Emma Annie (1895). His father was a mason and the family was Lutheran and of German ancestry. The next child, Herbert Henry, was born in 1899 in Rat Portage, Ontario. When the 1901 census was taken the Langs were still living in Rat Portage (later called Kenora) but within a few years they had moved to Winnipeg. George worked in Winnipeg as a stonemason and bricklayer and daughter Dorothy Elizabeth was born there in 1905. The youngest child, Catherine Pearl, was born in St. Andrew’s, Manitoba in 1909.
Around 1911 Walter’s family moved to Quill Lake, Saskatchewan. They homesteaded in Westasta Valley, north of Quill Lake, and George became a farmer. Before he enlisted Walter took out his own homestead claim on land next to his father’s. The war was in its second year by then and he signed up in Quill Lake on 16 March 1916, joining the 214th Overseas Battalion. The unit had been organized the previous month and during the summer the recruits trained at Camp Hughes in Manitoba. The following spring they headed to the east coast and embarked for England on the SS Grampian, arriving in Liverpool on 29 April 1917. The men were absorbed into the 15th Reserve Battalion to be used as reinforcements for other units. After about two months of training Walter was transferred to the 28th (North West) Battalion and sent to France. He arrived at the base depot on 6 July and after some time with an entrenching battalion he joined his new unit in the field at the end of August, just after the Battle of Hill 70.
Over the winter the Canadians held a section of the front line near Arras and in March 1918 Walter had two weeks leave in the UK. In mid-June he was sent to Canadian Corps School for six weeks and he rejoined his unit on 1 August. A week later the Battle of Amiens started, the first operation in what would be the final period of the war. Following the offensive at Amiens the Canadians moved north to the Arras area and near the end of the month the 28th Battalion took part in the Battle of the Scarpe. They were involved in heavy fighting east of Neuville-Vitasse and Walter was killed in action on the second day of the operation, 27 August.
From his circumstances of death card: While taking part with his Company in an attack on enemy positions, he was shot through the head and killed by a machine gun bullet about 4.30 P.M. on August 27th, 1918, at a point West of Cherisy.
Walter’s burial place is unknown. He is commemorated on the Vimy Memorial in France, the Cenotaph in Quill Lake, Saskatchewan, the Saskatchewan First World War Memorial in Regina and the Saskatchewan Virtual War Memorial. He is also remembered on the 1914-1918 Roll of Honour in the local history book Spalding Roots and Branches (Spalding, Saskatchewan: Spalding & District Historical Society, 1981).
By Becky Johnson
Photo at the top is the Vimy Memorial in France.