Walter Ricks Treliving 1876-1918

Second Lieutenant Army Service Corps - Walter Ricks Treliving

Born in the spring of 1876, Walter Ricks Treliving was the son of commercial traveller James Rufus Treliving and Elizabeth Ricks. In 1881 the family lived in Northfield, Bridgwater, where Walter had two siblings. In 1891, aged 14, Walter was attending the Commercial Travellers Boarding School in Pinner in Middlesex. In 1901, now working as a commercial traveller, he was staying with his aunt Annie Ricks in 5 King Square. By 1911 he had set up home in 86 Severn Road, Weston Super Mare with his wife Mabel Annie (nee Broadrick, whom he had married in 1904) and five year old daughter Beryl. He was a Freemason, attached to the Perpetual Friendship Lodge Somerset No. 135.

Walter Ricks Treliving joined the army in about 1916, aged 40 and served in the army service corps. He served in France for the next two years. On 22 May 1918 the London Gazette recorded Treliving as one of the cadets made temporary 2nd lieutenants 15th April 1918.

After continued service, in September or October 1918 he was in Britain and recovering from Influenza in Woolwich. However, he received the news that his mother, residing at 100 Wembdon Road, had died on 6 November. He caught the train to Bridgwater on Friday 9 November. On the morning of Sunday 10 October 1918 he attended communion at Wembdon parish church, although he was suffering from pains he attributed to indigestion. Walking home after service with friends and family, while walking past Oakfield House at the bottom of Wembdon Road he fell from the pavement into the gutter, dead. The coroner later concluded that he had died of heart failure, which had been weakened by influenza and the emotional trauma of his mother's death. He was aged 42. On Monday 11 October both mother and son were buried in the same plot in the Wembdon Road Cemetery.

A painful sensation was caused in Wembdon and Bridgwater on Friday by the news that 2nd Lieut. Walter Ricks Treliving, M.T., A.S.C., had died with tragic suddenness while returning from an early celebration of Holy Communion at Wembdon church the same morning - the day fixed for his mother's funeral. It appears that the deceased officer had journeyed from London the previous day to attend the funeral, staying at 100 Wembdon Road, the residence of his late mother, whose death occurred on the previous Tuesday.

He had only recently left hospital at Woolwich having been laid up with an attack of influenza, and on Friday morning he complained of pains, which he believed to be due to indigestion. He attended the communion service, and about 6.30 started walking home with other members of the family. When opposite "Oakfield," near the bottom of Wembdon Hill, he suddenly collapsed and fell to the ground, death ensuing almost immediately. The body was conveyed to a cottage close by, and removed shortly afterwards to 100 Wembdon Road. Dr Wilberforce Thompson had been summoned in the meantime, but on arrival could only confirm the fact that life was extinct.

The late lieut. Treliving, who was 42 years of age, was highly esteemed by all who knew him, and the news of the tragic event caste quite a gloom over the parish. The deceased officer resided for some time before the war at Weston-Super-Mare where he was well known, and was engaged as traveller to a London wholesale drapery firm.

He joined the Army about two years ago, and saw a good deal of service in France prior to obtaining his commission. Recently he had been on home service.

Deep sympathy is felt for the sisters of the deceased (Miss Treliving and Mrs E. H. Bond), and his little daughter in the double sad bereavement they have sustained.

The facts were reported to the Borough Coroner (Mr T. M. Reed) who held the inquest at the Police court on Saturday morning without a jury. Mr Ernest H. Bond of 102 Wembdon Road, identified the body as that of his late brother-in-law. The deceased he said, arrived at Bridgwater on Thursday for the purpose of attending his mother's funeral, which was fixed for the following day. On the previous Monday or Tuesday he was discharged from hospital at Woolwich, where he had been treated for an attack of influenza. Witness attended an early Communion service at Wembdon church on the Friday morning in company with the deceased and other members of the family.

On the Thursday evening deceased complained of indigestion, and the next morning told witnesses that the was awakened at 5 a.m. by pains in the chest, which he again attributed to indigestion. Deceased took no refreshments prior to attending the service.

They left Wembdon church to return home about 8.30, and deceased again complained of the pains.

When passing Oakfield House he staggered and fell almost as if he had been shot. He fell from the pavement into the gutter on his right side, facing downwards and did not speak afterwards. He drew about three deep breaths and did not appear to move afterwards. With assistance, he was moved to Polo's cottage close by, but was then dead. The body was subsequently removed to 100 Wembdon Road.

Witnesses at once sent for Dr Thompson, who arrived very shortly afterwards, and found life extinct. Witness had never heard of deceased having had a fit or seizure before.

Dr Thompson said he knew deceased, and attended him professionally last year for congestion of the lungs. On Friday morning, about 8.45 in consequence of a message he received, he at once went to 100 Wembdon Road, where he saw the deceased. Life was then extinct.

There was an abrasion on the right temple, evidently caused by the fall, but no other marks. From the evidence given by the last witness he was of opinion that death was due to angina pectoris (a form of heart disease). This was probably the only attack of the kind the deceased had experienced, and the pains which he thought was caused by indigestion were really the result of a heart attack. There was no doubt that the influenza, which greatly weakened the heart, was to a very great extent, a contributory cause of death, and any mental emotion or strain might bring on heart trouble in such a case.

The Coroner, in returning a verdict of "Death from Syncope or heart failure," remarked that the case was a very sad one, as the deceased officer had come home to attend his mother's funeral. He was certain the relatives had the sympathy of everyone in the loss they had sustained.

The funeral took place at the Wembdon Road cemetery early on Monday afternoon, the bodies of Mrs Treliving and her son (Lieut. Treliving) being interred in the same grave, with the remains of the late Mr Treliving, Sen. A military funeral had been anticipated in some quarters, but this was abandoned in compliance with the wish of members of the bereaved family.

Lieut. Richardson attended, however, to represent 274th company of the M.T., A.S.C. (to which the deceased belonged), and was the bearer of a splendid wreath from the officers of the company and another from the non-commissioned officers and drivers (male and female).

The family mourners who attended were Mrs E. Bond and Miss Treliving (daughters of Mrs Treliving and sisters of the Lieutenant), Mrs Priestman (niece of Mrs Treliving), Mr Ernest Bond, Mr George Bond and Mr W. Ricks, Mr F. H. Gould, J.P., and the following brethren of the "Perpetual Friendship" Lodge of Freemasons were amongst those in attendance: Bros. Edgar Wood, W.M., Rev. W. E. Catlow, E. W. Bovett, G. A. Barnett, E. Bryant, A. Manchip, J. Davis, W. Belcher, J. T. Dunsford, A. E. King, A.J. McAuley, W. H. Tamlyn, A. Coles, J. Colsey, L'Amis, and Capt Martin, Preb. C. Bazell (vicar of St John's Bridgwater and P.P.G. Chaplin of the Freemasons) and the Rev. Jas. Boyle (vicar of Wembdon) jointly officiated, the former conducting the burial service for Mrs Treliving and the latter for her son (Lieut. Treliving).

The numerous and beautiful floral emblems contributed included one from the "Perpetual" Lodge of the Freemasons and another from the former employers of Lieutenant Treliving (Messrs. Collender, Davis and Ricks, St Paul's churchyard London) the firm being represented by Mr W. Ricks.

The funeral arrangements were undertaken by Messrs. Willis and Son St Mary Street. Walter R. Treliving died on 11 October 1918.

Each of the war stories on our website have been updated in our book, Bridgwater and the First World War. These include transcriptions of Charles' letters.