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I am sure that most members are aware that the First World War began
one hundred years ago. In that conflict five members of the De Laune lost
their lives. We know very little of their backgrounds; however, through a
series of e-mails we have been able to glean some interesting information
on one member, Walter Webster, and his family.

In November 2000 John Kavanagh (at that time Club President), Brian

Shambrook, Gordon Gibbens (29 Wheelers) and I went to France and
Belgium to visit the graves of these club members. Kav placed a small
British Legion wooden cross at the foot of each headstone, took a
photograph and then signed the visitors’ books on behalf of the club; these
photographs and official reports of the circumstances in which they lost
their lives are on the club website under the sub-heading Roll of Honour.

Peter Harris was club secretary in October 2005 and received an e-mail
from Justin Webster, who is Walter’s nephew, enquiring whether we had any
information on his uncle’s cycling activities with the club. Unfortunately
there is very little and we were not able to be of much help.

In October last year we again received an e-mail – on this occasion from a
Peter Barnes who lives in the village of Simpson just a few miles from Milton
Keynes in Buckinghamshire. Peter was researching into the names that
are engraved on the Simpson war memorial, one of which is Walter Webster.
Fortunately I had retained Justin’s e-mail address which I passed on to
Peter; he contacted Justin, who in turn gave him his cousin, Graham
Webster’s address (Graham lives on a yacht in Jersey). Peter, using
information from Graham, together with a great deal of his own research,
established that Walter Webster lived with his father, also named Walter,
in Southwark where he ran a printing business, Premier Press. Walter junior
worked with his father and would have chosen the De Laune as it was one
of the nearest cycling clubs to his home (he was also a member of the
Polytechnic Cycling Club since he may well have been studying at the Poly).

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