BONEHAM, Walter

Lance Corporal Walter Boneham
20456  2nd Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment (The Green Howards)

Walter is listed on the Jacksdale War Memorial as a Private but on the absent voters roll as a Lance Corporal, absent from Dixie Street, Jacksdale.

Walter was born about 1888 at Stoneyford, a tiny hamlet close to Jacksdale and Brinsley. He was the son of John Boneham, a colliery blacksmith and his wife Betsy (nee Peake). Walter had brothers and sisters, William, Edna and Frank. On the 1911 census the family was living at Dixie Street, Jacksdale but Walter was not listed. It seems that on 10th October 1912 Walter sailed from Liverpool to the USA aboard the ‘Baltic’ White Star Line.

With the onset of WW1, Walter returned to the UK to volunteer for the war effort. He travelled from San Antonio, Texas in March 1915.  The ship he was sailing on, the SS Florazan 4,658 gross registered tonnage was torpedoed by a submarine in the Bristol Channel without warning on 12th March and sunk with the loss of one life.  His army record shows that Walter arrived in Liverpool the day after on 13th March 1915.

On 6th April 1915 he enlisted with the Yorkshire Regiment. His service record indicates that at the time of attestation he was 26 years and 210 days old, 5 feet 7 inches tall and had a scar on the back of his neck. His occupation is given as ‘clay moulder’, a trade he most likely learned at the clay pipe works in Jacksdale. His next of kin is given as his father, John Boneham of Dixie Street, Jacksdale. In October 1915 Walter was posted with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, and later on 2nd July 1916 to France, on the day following the Battle of the Somme.

In September 1916 he sustained a gunshot wound to the leg but seemingly recovered and continued his army service until July 1919 when his application for re-patriation to America was approved. Walter was awarded the 1914-15 Star as well as the British War and Victory Medals.  On 3rd September 1919 he sailed from London aboard the SS Scotian to Quebec, Canada, his next of kin is given as Mr J. Boneham, Dixie Street, Jacksdale, so presumably at this point 31 year old Walter was still unmarried.

A WW2 registration document confirms that in 1942 Walter resided at 224, Hudson Street, Tiffin, Seneca, Ohio, that his wife was named Wilma Frances Boneham and that he was employed by the ‘American Radiator & Standard Sanitary Manufacturing Company, Tiffin, Ohio’.

His obituary in the Tiffin, Ohio Advertiser Tribune states that Walter born 31st Aug 1988, went on to marry Wilma O’Bryan and also that Walter died on 5th Nov 1971 in Tiffin, Ohio aged 83.

The obituary reads as follows: ‘Walter Boneham, 83 of 224 Hudson St., was dead on arrival at Tiffin Mercy Hospital at 2.50pm on Friday, Nov 5, 1971. Death was caused by a heart condition. He was born in Stoney Ford, England Aug, 31, 1888 to John and Betsy (Peake) Boneham. He had been a resident of Tiffin for 37 years, coming here from Louisville, Ky. On Dec 20, 1925 he married Wilma F. O’Bryan in Louisville, and she survives.  Also surviving are two daughters Mrs Kenneth (Betty) Miller of Fostoria and Mrs Glen (Doris) Engle of Poway, Calif.; a brother, Frank Boneham of Sidford, England; a sister, Mrs William (Ada) Taylor of Norwich, England; and seven grandchildren. One brother is deceased.  Mr Boneham, a member of Old Trinity Church was employed in the smallware department of American Standard. He was a member of Tiffin Eagles Lodge and had served with the Yorkshire Regiment of the British Army during World War I.’