PRIVATE WALTER NORBURY ROWBOTHAM
20TH NOVEMBER 1917 AGE 31
BURIED: HOOGE CRATER CEMETERY, BELGIUM
Walter Rowbotham's inscription is another one that quotes Rupert Brooke's sonnet III, The Dead.
Blow out, you bugles, over the rich Dead!
There's none of these so lonely and poor of old,
But, dying, has made us rarer gifts than gold.
These laid the world away; poured out the red
Sweet wine of youth; gave up the years to be
Of work and joy, and that unhoped serene,
That men call age; and those who would have been,
Their sons, they gave, their immortality.
The inscription was chosen by Private Walter Rowbotham's father, John Rowbotham, a leather belt maker turned storekeeper from Stockport in Cheshire. Walter Rowbotham was born in Stockport in 1897. In the 1901 census, aged 14, he was a cotton doffer - someone who removed the full bobbins and replaced them with empty ones. In the 1911 census he was still working in the cotton industry but now as a thread doubler.
Walter was killed on 20 November 1917. In July 1919 his body was exhumed from its isolated grave at map reference J.24.d.O.4 and reinterred in Hooge Crater Cemetery.