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© Barns Green - A Local History of The Great War 2014
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Walter Novell (1887-1918) - Cpl 120616 Royal Field Artillery Walter   Novell    was   one   of   a   number   of   young   men   who   found   themselves   working   as   casual   labourers   in   Barns   Green   at   the   outset   of the Great War. Walter’s   family   were   not   particularly   local   –   we   find   them   in   Elstead   in   Surrey   in   the   1901   and   1911   census   –   but   by   1911   Walter,   who started working life at 13 as a bakers boy, was lodging in Barns Green and working as a gardener. Walter   was   the   eldest   of   the   six   sons   of   Lewis   and   Alice   Novell   (nee   Wisdom)   and   was   born   in   Elstead   in   1887.      He   enlisted   in   Horsham and   joined   the   Royal   Field   Artillery,   serving   with   285 th    Brigade   -   a   second   line   Territorial   unit   formed   during   the   War   which   went overseas on active service as part of the Army’s 57 th  Division in February 1917. The   highly   detailed   War   Diary   of   the   285 th    Brigade   documents   almost   every   shot   they   fired      from   the   moment   they   crossed   the   Channel and   moved   to   support   the   right   sector   of   II   Anzac   Corps,   north   of   Le   Tilleloy   on   the   25 th    February   1917.   The   whole   57 th    Division   then remained in France and Flanders until demobilisation in November 1918. During   this   time   Walter   would   have   seen   action   in   the   Second   Battle   of   Passchendaele   (October/November   1917),   the   Battles   of   the   Lys (April 1918) and the second Battles of Arras in August/September 1918. It was shortly after this latter action at Boisleux-St-Marc south of Arras that Walter was killed. The   Brigade   was   in   action   in   support   of   the   efforts   of   the   Canadian   Corps   to   secure   their   objectives   in   the   Battle   of   Canal   du   Nord.   The War   Diary   records   a   considerable   number   of   actions   and   counteractions   for   the   period   from   the   21 st    September   to   the   1 st    October.   It was   during   one   of   these   that   Walter   died   and   since   he   served   with   C   Battery   it   seems   most   likely   that   he   was   one   of   the   two   ORs   killed on the 30 th  September rather than on the 29 th  as recorded. What   is   clear   is   that   he   was   originally   buried   on   the   battlefield   before   being   reinterred,   after   the   armistice,   in   the   Naves   Communal Cemetery Extension. For his service Walter was awarded the Victory and British War Medals. He is remembered on both the Memorial in St Nicholas Church and, with his brother, on the Memorial in Kidmore End in Oxfordshire.
The Fallen