This story and photos are shared by the Trust with kind permission from Tracey Boden, Walter Hartley's Great Niece
Walter Hartley was born July 6th 1912, the youngest son of Joseph and Hannah Hartley of 5 Mann Street, Bootle, Liverpool. He had 2 older brothers, William Henry Hartley, my grandfather, and Joseph Hartley, and an older sister, Georgina Hartley. He was baptised on 21st July 1912.
He lost his mother on 26th August 1937 at Walton Hospital. I am unsure yet of the date of death of his father. He is buried/also remembered in Bootle cemetery with his parents
Walter was serving with 318 Battery, 92nd Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery. His unit was one of many being transported across the Channel on the SS Sambut as part of Operation Neptune. However, he wasn't due to be on the ship at all that day. Someone else hadn't turned up for duty so he was drafted in to replace them. It set sail on June 5th and was due to land in Normandy on D+1 where his unit was going to back up F Troop at Pegasus Bridge. But the SS Sambut was hit by German artillery fire and many on the ship were either killed or wounded. Walter was one of those who were wounded.
He was repatriated back to the UK but died of his wounds on 9th June 1944 and was buried in Bootle Cemetery.
Army • GUNNER
92nd Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment
DIED 09 June 1944
SERVICE NO. 3862870