|Date of Birth||March 25, 1870|
|Place of Birth||Burrampur, Madras Presidency|
|Next of Kin||Cecilia A P Buck, wife, Canadian Bank of Commerce, Carleton/Portage, Winnipeg|
|Trade / Calling||Accountant|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Date of Enlistment||September 23, 1914|
|Age at Enlistment||44|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||October 18, 1939|
|Age at Death||69|
|Buried At||Brookside Cemetery, Winnipeg, Manitoba|
According to his attestation papers Walter Keats Buck was born on 25 March 1870 in Burrampur, Madras Presidency, India. He was baptized in March of the next year in Berhampore, Madras, the record confirming the date of birth. Walter’s father Lewis William Buck was born in 1824 in Bideford, Devonshire. Lewis was the son of a captain in the Royal Navy. The Buck family is listed in the Plantagenet Roll of Royal Blood: the Mortimer-Percy Volume.
As found in the Indian Army Quarterly List, Lewis was first commissioned to the Indian Army in August of 1842. At the time of his marriage to Harriette Jane Archer in 1854 in Madras, Lewis was listed as with the 38th Regiment of the Madras Native Infantry. Although records could not be found, a couple of sources give Walter’s mother Harriette/Henrietta’s place of birth in 1835 as Glasnevin, Dublin, Ireland. Her father David Archer was a Colonel in the British Army in India.
As evidenced by the children’s baptism records and citations in the London Gazette, Lewis rose through the British Army while in India. By 1855 he was a Lieutenant with the 38th, a Captain by 1860, and a Major, second in command of the Staff Corps, in 1864. At the time of his retirement in 1894, Lewis was a General.
Children born to the family were Lewis William (1855), Harriette Grace (1856), Richard David (1858), Hugh Charles (1860), William Tennant (1862), Annie May (1864), Ernest Stucley (1866), Walter, Ethel Maude (1872), and Alice Florence (1874). Alice was baptized in Alverstoke, Hampshire and died in Cheltenham District, Gloucestershire the next year, 1875. Mother Harriette died in the same district in 1877.
Walter was to receive his education in England. For the 1881 England census, at age 11, he was found boarding at the Waresley Villas in Cheltenham along with eight other similar age children; Mary Ann Bamber was the superintendent of the proprietor school. He was later found on the Cheltenham College Register with the notation ‘Classical Football XV, 1887’. Under the heading of the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, a London Gazette entry of November 1890 for Walter listed his transfer to the Rifle Brigade (the Prince Consort’s Own). A second entry in February of 1893 announced the resignation of the commission of Second Lieutenant Walter K Buck from the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry.
Walter was next found on the 1901 Canada census living in Winnipeg, Manitoba and working as an accountant. His year of immigration was given as 1892. On 13 February 1904, in Winnipeg, Walter married Cecilia Augusta Pauline Marter. Born in Winnipeg in 1884, Cecilia was the daughter of Walter and Celia (née Finlay) Marter who had married in Woodhouse, Norfolk, Ontario in 1875. Cecilia’s father was a liquor commissioner. Walter and Cecilia were living on Graham Avenue in downtown Winnipeg in the 1906 Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta census, Walter’s year of immigration given as 1891. Cecilia was found living with her parents in the 1911 census; a record could not be found for Walter.
Walter signed his attestation papers at Valcartier Camp in Quebec on 23 September 1914. His occupation was given as accountant and his next of kin C A P Buck (wife Cecilia) at the Canadian Bank of Commerce on the corner of Carleton and Portage Avenue in Winnipeg. Walter gave previous military service as four years with the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry. With gray eyes and hair described as ‘grizzled bald’, Walter was 44 years of age.
Organized at Valcartier Camp that September, the 8th Battalion was composed of recruits from Winnipeg and from the 96th Lake Superior Regiment of the Active Militia. The battalion embarked from Quebec City on 1 October 1914 aboard the Franconia with Private Walter Buck was listed in Company.
Once in England Walter was transferred to the 11th Battalion in February of 1915 and then to the 4th Battalion in April. By May Walter was in France but immediately became ill with rheumatic fever, spending time at the No 4 Stationary Hospital in St Omer and then at the No 9 Casualty Clearing Station. In October of 1915 Walter was transferred back to the 8th Battalion. At some point before the war, Walter must have lived in Kenora, Ontario as a newspaper report from the town in November of 1915 gave Walter’s name and service number for corresponding with local men at the front.
Walter was promoted to Sergeant in August of 1916. However only days later he was admitted to the No 10 Stationary Hospital in St Omer and then invalided to England to the General Hospital in Nottingham. The diagnosis was multiple fractures to the left tarsus; many bones in his foot had been shattered. He spent time in a number of hospitals and following discharge in November of 1916 from the Canadian Convalescent Hospital Woodcote Park, Epsom he was to spend time off and on in hospitals in England suffering from rheumatism. Walter worked for a few months at the General Audit Office in London in 1917 but it was decided that he was to return to Canada, arriving in Halifax in mid February of 1918 aboard the Olympic. Walter was discharged in Winnipeg in March of 1918, classified as medically unfit for further service. He had spent a total of 20 months of service in France and Belgium.
Walter Keats Buck died on 18 October 1939 in Deer Lodge Hospital in Winnipeg. He is interred in the Military Field of Honour in Brookside Cemetery, Winnipeg. Walter’s wife Cecilia died in 1969 in Winnipeg and she is interred with her parents and brother in St John’s Cemetery. Living in Winnipeg all her life, she had worked at the Canadian Bank of Commerce for about twenty-five years.
by Judy Stockham
Cecilia’s grave marker photo: George Fedyck, canadagenweb.org