b. 28/07/1885 Edinburgh, Scotland. d. 23/08/1918 Behagnies, France.
Walter Lorrain Brodie (1885-1918) was born at 13 Belgrave Crescent, Edinburgh, Scotland on 28th July 1884. His father, John Wilson Brodie, was a partner in Edinburgh stockbrokers, Torrie, Brodie & Maclagan. He was a member of the Society of Accountants in Edinburgh from 1875, President of the Speculative Society in 1877 and director of the Scottish-American Investment Company. Walter’s mother was Grace Mary nee Lorrain. John and Grace had married at her home, 53 Northumberland Street, Edinburgh on 27th August 1879. Walter had a brother and two sisters. Walter was educated at Edinburgh Academy from 1892-1898, where he was a member of the OTC. He was later tutored by a private coach.
Walter trained at the Royal Military College Sandhurst and was commissioned on 2nd March 1904. He served with the 2nd Battalion in Jersey, at Edinburgh Castle and Fort George near Inverness. He was a Freemason, Lodge Canongate Kilwinning No 2 from 7th February 1906. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1908, and served in Ireland from 1909-1913 with the Battalion stationed in Cork and Mullingar. When War broke out in 1914, he was Battalion Machine-Gun officer based in Aldershot and arrived in France on 14th August 1914. He was soon promoted to Captain in September 1914.
On 11th November 1914 near Becelaere, Belgium, Captain Brodie led a charge to evict the enemy from a portion of British trenches which they had succeeded in occupying. He bayoneted several of the enemy himself and relieved a dangerous situation. As a result of the captain’s prompt action, 80 of the enemy were killed and 51 taken prisoner.
Brodie was gazetted for the VC on 12th December 1914, and his VC was presented to him by King George V at Windsor Castle on 17th July 1915. Walter returned to the front and took part in operations at Richebourg, Givenchy and Festubert in 1915. He became an intelligence staff officer (GSO3) on 1st March 1916 until he was appointed Brigade Major of 63rd Brigade from 25th April 1916 until 9th December 1917. He took part in the Battles of the Somme and Arras. He was awarded the Military Cross in the London Gazette on 1st January 1917.
He was appointed Acting Lieutenant Colonel to command the 2/10th King’s (Liverpool) Regiment on 23rd December 1917. He was appointed Brevet Major on 1st January 1918. He was then transferred to the command of the 2nd Highland Light Infantry on 25th April 1918. He was killed in action leading an attack near Behagnies, France on 23rd August 1918 and was buried in Bienvillers Military Cemetery. Walter was not married when he was killed.
In addition to his VC and MC, he was awarded the 1914 Star with Mons clasp, British War Medal 1914-20, and Victory Medal with Mentioned in Despatches oak leaf. His medals were held privately until they were stolen from a car in Colinton Village, Edinburgh in July 2015. They were recovered and returned to the family. The family have since placed the medals on loan to the National War Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh Castle.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: NATIONAL WAR MUSEUM, EDINBURGH CASTLE, SCOTLAND (LOAN).
BURIAL PLACE: BIENVILLERS MILITARY CEMETERY, FRANCE.
PLOT XVIII, ROW F, GRAVE 15
Kevin Brazier – Cemetery Map
Thomas Stewart – images of Medal Group at the National War Museum of Scotland, the New Club Memorial, Edinburgh, and two images from the RMA Chapel, Sandhurst.
Andy Wright – Family Grave at Dean Cemetery, Edinburgh.