King Edward’s School and the Great War

Memorial Roll of Honour 1914 - 1918


Mansell, Walter Reynolds

Lieutenant ▪ 5th Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment

Walter Reynolds Mansell, born on 14th January 1892, was admitted to King Edward’s School in January 1904, and was awarded three successive Foundation Scholarships. He lived with his parents, Charlotte and Charles, a tyre merchant, his brother, Charles, and his sister, Charlotte, at 126, Wentworth Road, Harborne (and later at 58, Calthorpe Road, Edgbaston). Charles, also an Old Edwardian, served with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and was killed on 3rd September 1916.

At School, Walter was a sportsman. He was a member of the 1907-8 1st XV, who that year lost narrowly 12-15 to the Birmingham University team. He was described as “the shining light of the rugby team…a light but brilliant wing three-quarter, who is possessed of a wonderful dodge…has a bad habit of trying to intercept, otherwise his defensive work is good.” He earned his 2nd XI colours in 1908 and was also a regular runner, placing second in the Under 15 100 yards flat race in 1906. In the quarter-mile flat race the same year, Walter gave FW Lister (who went on to serve as an officer with the West African Rifles and the Tank Corps, and died of pneumonia in 1919), a neck-and-neck race down the straight. The 1911 Census reveals that, after School, Walter became an insurance clerk, and played rugby for Moseley Rugby Club.

In 1914, Walter enlisted as a Private Soldier in the 2nd Birmingham Pals Battalion (15th Royal Warwickshire Regiment), and reached the rank of Corporal before being gazetted as a Second Lieutenant to the South Staffordshire Regiment, serving as a Musketry Officer. He was sent to France in July 1916, and transferred to the 5th Battalion as a Lieutenant, serving as a Bombing Officer. In September of that year, he was wounded and invalided home, suffering from trench fever and severe influenza. He rejoined the 5th Battalion in October 1917. In early September during his time recuperating in Lichfield, his brother Charles was killed on at the Battle of Guillemont. In December 1917, following another wound, Walter was promoted to Acting Captain, and went on to suffer a severe wound at St Quentin on 24th March 1918, subsequently dying of his wounds at the 3rd Canadian Hospital, Étaples, on 16th April 1918. He is buried in Étaples Military Cemetery, France, and is commemorated on the Moseley Rugby Club War Memorial. He left his estate of £263 to his father.