Captain Walter Napleton Stone V.C., 3rd Battalion, the Royal Fusiliers
Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1917, Captain Walter Napleton Stone V.C., 3rd Battalion, the Royal Fusiliers - attached to the 17th (Service) Battalion (Empire) - was killed in action during the Battle of Cambrai.
Educated at Harrow and Pembroke College, Cambridge, he had joined the Inns of Court Officers’ Training Corps, and then went on to the Royal Military College at Sandhurst, joining his battalion in January of 1916.
For his actions on the day of his death, Captain Stone was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously, the citation reading: “For most conspicuous bravery when in command of a company in an isolated position 1,000 yards in front of the main line, and overlooking the enemy's position. He observed the enemy massing for an attack, and afforded invaluable information to battalion headquarters. He was ordered to withdraw his company, leaving a rearguard to cover the withdrawal. The attack developing with unexpected speed, Captain Stone sent three platoons back and remained with the rearguard himself. He stood on the parapet with the telephone under a tremendous bombardment, observing the enemy and continued to send back valuable information until the wire was cut by his orders. The rearguard was eventually surrounded and cut to pieces, and Capt. Stone was seen fighting to the last till he was shot through the head. The extraordinary coolness of this heroic officer and the accuracy of his information enabled dispositions to be made just in time to save the line and avert disaster.” He has no known grave – it is presumed that he was buried by the Germans near Moeuvres, and he is commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial to the Missing, Louverval, in France.
Walter, from Blackheath, London, was 25 years old and left behind a three-year-old son.