Friday, 1 January 2016

Victor Waters 1890-1941 Medical Discharge

Medal Card
Victor’s story is perhaps about what might have been for although he enlisted in the early days of the war, he was never to leave England.

This 22 year old was there on 1st September 1914 in Tredegar Rd Bow lining up with many other British boys eager to join the British Expeditionary Forces going off to fight the war for England.

It is likely a relative was there as his enlistment papers are witnessed by A.E. Waters Sergeant Instructor. Victor, married bus conductor and father of one from the Bow area was in good physical health and had reportedly had good vision in his blue eyes. He was recruited as a rifleman.

His service was cut short -totalling 250 days. When his Battalion moved to Le Havre, France in 10 March 1915 and it appears Victor wasn’t with them. He was discharged from his station at St Albans by 8/5/1915.

His army records show that Private Victor Waters Regimental Number 2323 of the 2/17th Battalion of the London Regiment never served overseas and was discharged due to sickness under paragraph 392 XVI KR “No longer physically fit for War. Service. Victor had succumbed to temporary blindness as a result of Rheumatic fever and had become permanently unfit to serve as a rifleman. The records show his disability was not caused whilst engaged in military service. .                                                      
This shows he never left England

It is likely Victor returned to live with wife Lily Elizabeth (Winkles) and son Victor Leonard Waters. Daughter Phyllis was born later in 1915.

He was obtained work as a munitions worker where he met a fellow munitions worker and married (as a bachelor) Mabel Elsie Palmer in July 1919. The error in spelling of his surname (Walters) may not have been accidental as he was still presumably married to Lily. In 1920 he and Mabel and son Ronald migrated to Sydney via Melbourne where three more children were born.

Victor loved his cars, was probably a mechanic,salesman and in the real estate business. Later after the death of two son’s  his marriage broke down.

He had met Catherine (Kit) Gadsby. This time he waited for the divorce to be granted before marrying in 1936. He and Kit came to Lismore in 1936 where they opened up Gadsbys Ladies Hairdressing Salon in Lismore, Kyogle and Casino.

He was killed in a car accident in July 1941. Interestingly the newspaper report of his funeral has his coffin covered by a Union Jack (usually afforded to ex-soldiers) and his coffin carried by 6 ex-soldiers.
The reporter from the Northern Star seems to think he served with the British Imperial Forces in France and was discharged medically unfit after he was wounded in France and for some time after his discharge being totally blind.

 Probably the greatest disappointment of his life was being discharged for having rheumatic fever and not getting to France with his Battalion.  Never let the truth get in the way of a good story at the Lismore Masonic Temple!!

Victor (right)  with Kit - He loved his car.

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