Walter was a well-respected English football club secretary and manager at Manchester United for 38 years and here I am by his grave in Stretford on the outskirts of Manchester City.
Unfortunately he was with the “Busby Babes” team when the plane crashed in Munich on 6th February 1958. Aboard were 44 people, the Manchester United football team, supporters and journalists. Twenty people died immediately and another three died having been taken to Rechts der Isar Hospital in Munich. The team had played a game in Belgrade (now Serbia) and stopped in Munich to refuel. Two attempts were made to take off. The Captain was worried they would get behind schedule if they didn’t take off. On the third attempt snow was falling and slush had formed at the end of the runway. The plane skidded, smashed through a house and set on fire.
Walter became Manchester United club secretary in 1926. He twice assumed managerial responsibility: from 1 April 1931 to 1 June 1932, and then again from 1 August 1937 to 1 February 1945. He’d been the club secretary for 32 when he died in the crash. He was married to Nellie until his death. She outlived him by nine years, dying in 1967.They had one daughter, Beryl, who was born in 1921.
The cemetery wasn’t very busy but oddly there was a weekend funeral in progress.
Struggling to find Walter’s headstone I passed a woman who had brought a chair to sit by a grave (though I did not see her sitting on it each time I passed by.) She seemed so engrossed in a loved-ones grave that I could have easily snatched her handbag off the chair without her immediate knowledge. It looked like it cost less than £10 so I doubt there’d be a cash-heavy purse inside it. I just took her Barclays Debit Card instead.
There was a funeral - on a Sunday afternoon!
A man went into these toilets and came in full jogging clothes and trotted off.