Funeral held for gallant war hero

Walter Isherwood
Walter Isherwood

A war hero who was decorated for gallantry has died at the age of 95.

Walter Isherwood, from East Bierley, received the Military Medal and bar during World War Two.

Private Isherwood, who was born at 54 Upper Lane, Gomersal, was one of only 28 men from his platoon to survive the Battle of Kohima and was among the soldiers rescued from Dunkirk.

He married Florrie when he returned for three weeks.

He was first awarded the Military Medal when fighting in Satpangon in 1945.

His son-in-law, Bernard Doyle, said: “He and his friend Smithy were pinned down in a bomb crater and decided to go out in a blaze of glory.”

Pte Isherwood rushed forward and fired his Bren gun at a machine gun crew to fend off an attack.

He was wounded when a grenade, one of 36, that he was carrying in his pockets was struck by a bullet that caused him to suffer shrapnel wounds to his chest, neck, leg and arm.

His daughter, Ann Doyle, said: “He didn’t do anything in half measures.”

He was visited at the field hospital in Burma by Vera Lynn who sang ‘We’ll Meet Again’ at his bedside.

After he recovered Pte Isherwood was eager to return to fight alongside the remaining men from his platoon.

He received the bar for the Military Medal for throwing himself on his captain, Ken Cooper, to protect him from a grenade blast in the jungle near Rangoon.

In an account of battles his platoon fought, The Little Men, Capt Cooper said Pte Isherwood had “a raucous sense of humour, and the unfailing high spirits and grit of the best type of Yorkshireman”.

He was demobbed in 1946 and returned home to recover from his shrapnel injuries.

He later bought a pig farm on Hunsworth Lane, East Bierley.

His funeral was held at the Moravian Church, Gomersal.

A friend, Lt Steve Clark, arranged for six soldiers to be pallbearers, and for a Gurkha and Scottish piper to attend.

He leaves a daughter, Ann, two grandchildren, Tracey and Peter, and four great grand children Joshua, Jade, Olivia and William.

His son David died in 2006.

Walter Isherwood was born on April 30, 1919, and died June 29, 2014.