Walter Ardern was born in Altrincham in 1897, one of four children born to Arthur and Susannah Ardern of 19, Oakfield Road, Altrincham.
He enlisted at Hale Recruiting Office on the 31stJuly 1914, becoming Private No. 10034 of the 1st Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment, before being transferred to the 13th Battalion.
The 13th (Service) Battalion, Cheshire Regiment was raised at Port Sunlight on 1 September 1914 by Gershom Stewart, MP. They moved to Chester and joined 74th Brigade, 25th Division in Kitchener's Third New Army. The Division assembled in the area around Salisbury for training and the 13th Cheshire’s spent the winter in billets in Bournemouth. The division moved to Aldershot in May 1915 for final training. They proceeded to France on the 25th of September 1915 and concentrated in the area of Nieppe. Their first action was in defense of the German attack on Vimy Ridge in May 1916. They then moved to The Somme and joined the Battle just after the main attack, with 75th Brigade making a costly attack near Thiepval on the 3rd of July. The Division was in action at The Battle of Bazentin, The Battle of Pozieres and The Battle of the Ancre Heights.
Walter did not have a good time in the army – he was hospitalized several times with piles and a septic toe, and in 1916 he suffered several cases of shell-shock.
His charge sheet shows several acts that saw him charged under military law and in mid-1916 he was sentenced to 1 year in prison for disobedience to orders. This sentence was suspended.
He was killed in action on the 21st October 1916.
The Battalion War Diary states:
The battalion forming part of the 74th Bde. Made an attack from Hessian trench on the enemy in Regina Trench. The Bn. after the usual bombardment, followed up on the barrage with the greatest gallantry. The jump off from one parapet was timed at 12.06 p.m. The whole Bn. went over and entered the enemy's trenches, drove back the Germans and took about 250 prisoners, captured one machine Gun, one party advancing well forward put a German field gun out of action, but was unable to bring it back, consolidated this position and were finally relieved at 6p.m.
Casualties Killed: 3 officers, 24 other ranks. Wounded 7 officers 118 other ranks. Missing 2 officers 56 other ranks:
Walter’s body was never found, his name is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France Pier and Face 3 C and 4 A