Captain William Walsh, Royal Army Veterinary Corps

1891 Oct/Dec Born Ballina, Co Mayo

1911 Census at 17 Bridge St, Ballina

1917 Enlisted in British Army

1919 Feb 1. The undermentioned temp. Lts. to be temp. Capts. : — W. Walsh. Army Veterinary Service,

1919 Feb 27, Died from Influenza/pneumonia at Ballina. Captain William Walsh, MRCVS, Royal Army Veterinary Corps, was the 26 year old son of Mr Francis and Mrs Kate Walsh of Bridge Street, Ballina.

The following is from the 'Western People' newspaper

"He was shortly to be demobbed and to have settled at home in the practice of his profession. He went into the army late in 1917 after passing his final examination, and after spending some time at home depots in England and Wales, was sent to France in time to participate in the ceaseless onward movement and deadly fighting that continued day after day 'till the Armistice suspended hostilities last November. He arrived home on the 9th January to enjoy a hard-earned holiday. For the greater part of the journey over he was in the best of health and spirit, but became ill before reaching his journey's end at Ballina. He immediately lay up, and everything that medical skill and devoted care by his family could do was done to nurse him back to health, but notwithstanding all, influenza developed into pneumonia, which finally brought the fatal result.....................................
The morning of his Mass and funeral (the Mass was celebrated by his cousin, Rev. J. Heffernan, CC., Ballycroy), a remarkable tribute of respect was paid to his memory by the military authorities, when two aeroplanes arrived over the town and saluted in the regulation manner. The coffin was borne to the family burial ground in the Abbey by friends and companions of the late officer; next a firing party of the Cheshire Yeomanry with arms reversed, and also by a number of recently demobbed soldiers, still wearing the uniforms of their respective regiments. The firing party having been drawn up, three volleys were fired over the grave, after which a bugler sounded 'The Last Post'."

ANd from WW1 Forum I have checked the two contemporary professional journals from the period (The Veterinary Record and The Veterinary Journal) and unusually neither contains an obituary for this officer. His is however commemorated on the War Memorial of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in London. The RCVS website has a link to a pdf which contains some brief information about the men recorded on the memorial. This suggests Walsh qualified from the Dublin Veterinary College on 12/12/1912, however, given that he died in Feb 1919 at the age of 26, this would make him relatively young to have qualified as a vet, so this may not be correct and is worth trying to double check. Note this pdf also suggests that he was 42 when he died which is inconsistent with the CWGC information and must be an error. A reference to William Walsh is also made in the book 'Mayo Comrades of the Great War', this has previously been posted on the GWF in Feb 2007. You can find it by typing 'MRCVS' into the search button on the home page. Note that this reference states that he joined the army in 1917 after passing his final exams, which also seems to suggest he qualified later than the date recorded by the RCVS. 

The picture of the celtic cross headstone is in 'Mayo Comrades of the Great War'


British soldiers died in Ireland