Walter Coyte

Walter  was born in Modbury in 1870 or 1873, one of six sons of Edmund Coyte, a butcher, and Mary Coyte.

Walter immediately behind his parents with his 7 brothers

 At the age of 21 in 1891 he is shown in the census as working as a draper’s assistant in the City of London. In 1901 he married Alicia Rickard Banbury in Plymouth.  By 1911 he is running a draper business at 58  Union Street,Torquay and had been married for 10 years with three daughters, Alice (b. 1902), Marjorie (b. 1906) and Edna (b. March 1911).  He also managed to lose 3 yrs off his age as he is listed as aged 38.

He enlisted into the Army in London and, although over the age limit, he volunteered for active service.  He  was a Sergeant in the ASC (Labour Corps).  He is believed to have served in 60th Company of the Chinese Labour Corps.  The Labour Corps was formed in January 17 and was manned by officers and other ranks who had been medically graded below A1 condition needed for front line service. They were often deployed within range of the enemy guns digging trenches, laying barbed wire and a wide range of pioneer duties.  With the shortage of manpower for labouring work, Britain signed an agreement with many countries from the Empire and Egypt and China to supply men.  By the end of 1917 here were 50,000 Chinese workers in France and nearly double that number by the summer of 1918.

He died of wounds on 19th March 1918 aged 45 and is buried at Dozinghem Military Cemetery.  His mother died 4 days previously on 15 March 1918.

His cousin,  Frank Coyte, whose father was a Modbury man,  also served in France with the 47th Bn of the Australian Forces.  Frank was awarded the Military Medal and French Croix de Guerre with Palme for bravery in the field as a company runner during the Battle of Bullecourt in April 1917.

Born:1870 or 1873
Where Born:Modbury
Address:39 Back Street, Modbury. Resident Torquay
Marital Status:Married
Next of Kin:One of six sons of Edmund Coyte, a butcher and Mary Coyte.
Remarks:Aged 1 in 1871 census, but aged 38 in 1911 census
Service Number:416157 formerly 16818
UnitASC(Labour Corps), formerly Royal Army Service Corps
Died On:19th March 1918
Aged:45 or 48
Where Buried:Dozinghem Military Cemetery