Rank: Private 260074
Regiment: 7th Bn., Duke of Corwall's Light Infantry
Died: died 2 April 1918 Age 24
Newton Poppleford War Memorial
Other Memorial: Hourges Orchard Cemetery, Domart-Sur-La-Luce [Google]
PDF Download: SELLEK or SELLECK Walter John
Walter Selleck, who preferred to be called John, and Alf Pring were first cousins. It appears that Walter wanted to use his second name because, when he enlisted in the army, he gave his name simply as John. His father was called Walter, so maybe John wanted to ensure there was no confusion.
His father had married Emma French in Newton Poppleford on 8 February 1888. They had two children, Anna Maud born in 1889 and Walter John, born 1892. Both his father and mother lived to a good age: Walter died in 1937 aged 76 and Emma in 1949 aged 86. Walter Selleck, Walter John’s father, farmed Langsford Farm. The farmhouse overlooks the Newton Poppleford High Street and the farmyard and buildings are now a holiday complex.
John enlisted in the army at Exeter. His previous employment is not shown but it is reasonable to suppose that he worked for his father at Langsford Farm. He may have been one of the many who found himself with fewer duties once the army had requisitioned most of the farm horses.
John first joined The Devon Yeomanry but was subsequently transferred to The Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry. Such transfers often occurred when a regiment suffered serious losses and was taken out of ”the line”. He was killed in action in Flanders on 2 April 1918 having served through most of the war. The Commonweaalth War Graves Commission spells his surname as Sellek, and records his age at the time of his death as 24.
We, who have lived a full lifetime, can pass down the High Street and look up at the large square top floor windows of Langsford Farmhouse, and remember that it was from these windows that John first looked out on to a world that he would live in for just 26 years. He is buried in Hourges Orchard Cemetery, Domart-Sur-La-Luce, on the Somme in France.
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