Walter grew up in The Rocks and was 26, working as a coal lumper on the wharves of Walsh Bay and Darling Harbour when he enlisted on 20 September 1915. He lived at 68 Princes St, The Rocks with his wife Daisy and their young two children, Edna and Walter.
He left Sydney only a few days before Christmas in 1915 with the 2nd Battalion and arrived on the Western Front in March 1916. Promoted to Lance Corporal in May 1917, Walter was wounded in action twice; firstly with a shrapnel wound to his left leg during the Battle of Fromelles in July 1916 for which he was treated and returned to the front. Wounded again near Zonnebeke during the Ypres offensive, his bravery on this occasion earned him the Military Medal with the citation:
'For conspicuous gallantry during the operations near ZONNEBEKE, East of YPRES. On the morning of 7th November, while the Bn. transport was conveying rations to Bn. Headquarters it was subjected to heavy shell fire, which caused severe casualties both in men and horses and consequent disorganisation. L/Cpl. PATTISON, although wounded, collected a number of the animals took them forward and delivered the rations, enemy shelling being heavy the whole time. Had it not been for this N.C.O.'s cool and gallant conduct, the Bn. in the line would have been without rations for 24 hours.”
Walter was allowed leave in Britain, or ‘Blighty leave’, in early 1918. When he overstayed by five days he was reduced back to the rank of Private. This meant a reduction in his pay, something that would soon have serious repercussions.
Walter was Killed in Action on 4 May 1918 in the Somme Valley, France, during the German Spring Offensive. He is buried in Le Peuplier Military Cemetery, Caestre, France.
Daisy and the two children were granted a military pension, which because of Walter’s unauthorised leave and demotion was smaller than it would have been.
Lest We Forget