Walter James Dicker

Information about birth

Date of birth:
Place of birth:
Greywell, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom

General information

Last known residence:
115 Pape Ave, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Rubber Worker
Church of England

Army information

Canadian Expeditionary Force
Service number:
Enlistment date:
Enlistment place:
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
 —  Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
Place of death:
Bellewaerde Ridge, Zonnebeke, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)


Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial
Panel: Panel 10.

Points of interest 4

#1 Place of birth
#2 Last known residence
#3 Enlistment place
#4 Place of death (approximate)

My story

Walter was born on 20 November 1883 in Greywell, Hampshire, England to William and Hariet Dicker. His father William was the town’s blacksmith. Walter grew up in the village with his sister and two brothers. In 1900 at the age of 18, Walter enlisted in the army, serving with the Hampshire Regiment in the Second Boer War. After leaving the army, Walter joined the family business, though he didn’t stick around. In 1911 Walter emigrated to Canada, along with several young men from the village. In Canada he started working in the rubber industry.

In 1914, as a British Dominion, Canada was drawn into an unprecedented worldwide conflagration. Canada had no army of its own. Its permanent militia had a total of only 3,000 troops. To swell the ranks, volunteers were recruited from all over the vast country. There was no shortage of candidates. Tens of thousands wanted to join the Expeditionary Force and as a result only the best qualified were selected. Walter enlisted on 24 August 1914 in Ottawa. Being a veteran from the Boer War, he was exactly what the Canadian Army was looking for. Walter was taken on by the Princess Patricia’s Light Infantry, the last privately raised regiment in the British Empire. The Patricia’s were assigned to the 27th British Division.

In early April 1915, the Division relieved French troops around Polygon Wood, Zonnebeke, east of Ypres. During the Second Battle of Ypres, German attacks on their left flank, made their positions untenable. On 3 May, they were forced to move into new positions on the Bellewaerde Ridge. With the Germans on their tail, the new trenches were hurriedly thrown up. There was hardly any time to construct a parados or parapet. The Patracias were still digging, when they witnessed a feat of German gründlichkeit. In the light of dawn on the 4th of May 1915 it looked as if the entire 4th Army was coming down the ridge near Westhoek in perfect formation. Many Patricias came out of their trenches, applauding the spectacle. But reality dawned, as the first shells came crashing down. The Patricia's were under heavy artillery fire for the rest of the day. Gritting their teeth, they had to watch how their hastily dug positions were shot to pieces. Although no attack developed, the battalion suffered over 120 casualties.

Walter was among the fallen. He was buried at the positions on the Bellewaerde Ridge, along with 109 Patricias, who were all killed between 4 and 9 May 1915. Soon after the ridge was lost to the Germans. After the War the remains of the Patricias were never identified. Walter is remembered on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.

Files 3

Sources 6

Greywell Village Hampshire
Sources used
Hodder-Williams R., Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry: 1914-1919. Volume I (Londen: Hodder and Stoughton, 1923) 50-57.
Sources used
Personnel Records of the First World War (Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa (LAC) RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 2507 - 6).
Sources used
War diaries: Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa (LAC), RG9-III-D-3, Volume number: 4911, Microfilm reel number: T-10703, File number: 346).
Sources used
War Graves Registers: Circumstances of Death (Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa (LAC), RG 150, 1992-93/314; Volume Number: 172).
Sources used
War Graves Registry: Commonwealth War Graves (Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa (LAC): RG150, 1992-1993/314, Box 39-244; Box: 62).
Sources used