Walter Renwick David Porter was born on the 1st March 1917 and baptised with his siblings in Slimbridge Church in 1928. David became a porter on the railway and worked at Ashchurch station in Worcestershire. He lodged with a family who lived in the nearby railway cottages and it was here that he met his future wife, Eileen Rosina White. David and Eileen married on 21st May 1939. David belonged to the territorials and was called up to serve when the war started, joining the 5th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment (Infantry division) No. 5183562.
David was 23 years old when he was killed on 20th May 1940 near Bruyelle, as the 5th battalion engaged in battle on the line of the river Scheldt (Escaut), before the final withdrawal to Dunkirk ahead of the German advance. The battalion had had a gruelling time, providing the rear-guard action in the withdrawal. Benjamin King (a private in the 5th Gloucesters) recalled: “When we were given orders to retreat, we travelled with the Intelligence Officers, to protect them as we were infantry. We stayed with them almost into Dunkirk. In this retreat I covered over 90 miles with a Bren Gun, crawling through ditches. The unit had split up and gone. The 5th Gloucester’s were the rear-guard with other regiments, the 2nd Gloucester’s were also rear-guard action. “ The Company War Diary for May 20th 1940 confirms that the men had covered 95 miles in the previous 83 hours.
David Porter is buried at the Bruyelle War Cemetery, six kilometres south of Tournai in Belgium and his name is remembered on the Slimbridge War Memorial. Unfortunately, when the memorial was refurbished as part of the 2000 celebrations his name was accidentally changed from “Walter David Porter” to “William D Porter”. Neither the Parish Council nor the Parochial Church Council currently have funds to correct this error. The Family of David Porter have reached out to Slimbridge Local History Society for help to have the inscription corrected, with this in mind SLHS have made a donation of £500 towards the forecast cost of £1,737.60. Furthermore SLHS will be organising a fundraising event starting in August and coming to a climax at its Heritage Weekend 16th - 17th September at Slimbridge Village Hall. Having David Porter’s name back on the War Memorial is the right and only thing to do, please help SLHS achieve this.
If the fundraising event exceeds the target amount then SLHS will hold that surplus amount back for future projects within our parish.
For more information please contact the Chairman at Slimbridge.email@example.com
To make a donation use reference “WDP Appeal” - Slimbridge Local History Society - Account 66014660 - Sort 30-99-50