Walter George Burnett Dickinson

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Walter George Burnett Dickinson

Grave of WGB Dickenson in Boston Cemetery
Born 22 April 1858(1858-04-22)
Died 6 August 1914(1914-08-06) (aged 56)
Cause of death arterio-sclerosis and syncope
Resting place Boston Cemetery
Education Boston Grammar School; Paris Ecôle de Veterinaire; New Veterinary College and Surgeons' Hall, Edinburgh
Occupation Veterinary surgeon (Fellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons; Fellow of the Royal Society, Edinburgh; President of the Lincolnshire Veterinary Medical Society)
Employer A Boston veterinary practice; 1st Battery, 1st North Midland Brigade, Royal Field Artillery

Boston’s first casualty of the Great War was Major Walter George Burnett Dickinson, who died just 36 hours into the conflict. He did not die in battle, but in Lincolnshire and became the first Major and second officer to die during the war.

Walter went to Boston Grammar School, the Paris Ecôle de Veterinaire and the New Veterinary College and Surgeons’ Hall, Edinburgh.

He was admitted a Fellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and, in 1902, a Fellow of the Royal Society, Edinburgh. He took over his father’s veterinary practice in Boston in 1881, marrying two years later.

He joined the Lincolnshire Garrison Artillery Volunteers in February 1902, as Veterinary Officer, and was promoted to the rank of Captain in 1905, and then Major in 1913. He belonged to the Territorial Force, the 1st Battery, 1st North Midland Brigade, Royal Field Artillery.

When the threat of war increased in July 1914, the government took the precaution of buying horses from farmers across the country to meet the requirements of possible mobilisation.

Walter’s military position and veterinary standing made him the first choice to do this in the Boston area.

On 6 August, two days after war was declared, he was visiting a Butterwick farm and, having purchased some horses, he returned to his car and collapsed. Walter, who had a history of heart disease, was killed by arterio-sclerosis and syncope. He was 57. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s definition qualifies this as a ‘war death’. He is buried in Boston Cemetery.

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