There is very little documentation relating to Stoker 1st Class Walter Beverley, and so a lot of his life is destined to remain a mystery.
He was born in Tonbridge, Kent, on 20th May 1894, although details of his parents are lost to time. He worked as a tailor after leaving school but enlisted in the Royal Navy on 5th November 1913. He joined as a Stoker 2nd Class, and his records show that he was 5ft 4ins (1.63m) in height, had brown hair, brown eyes and a fresh complexion.
Stoker Beverley spent five months at HMS Pembroke, the Royal Naval Dockyard in Chatham, Kent, before being given a posting on the dreadnought battleship HMS Vanguard. He spent three-and-a-half years on board, gaining a promotion to Stoker 1st Class in the process.
In August 1917, Walter returned to HMS Pembroke. The Dockyard was particularly busy that summer, and the large number of extra servicemen meant that he was billeted in temporary accommodation in Chatham Drill Hall.
On the 3rd September 1917, the first night air raid carried out by the German Air Force bombarded the town, and scored a direct hit on the Drill Hall; Stoker Beverley was among those killed. He was just 23 years of age.
Walter Beverley was laid to rest, along with the other victims of the Chatham Air Raid, in the Woodlands Cemetery, Gillingham.
Stoker Beverley’ Navy Death Record sheds no further light onto his family. His next of kin is noted as “Friend: Elizabeth Payne, Pattscronch Farm, near St Albans, Hertfordshire.”