The 1901 Census reports that Burt was aged 7 and his younger Brother Alfred Robert was aged 4. Burt`s Father (also named Burt) was a Police Constable in Walthamstow aged 35. Mothers name was Jane aged 38. He had a younger Brother named Alfred Robert and a younger Sister called Nellie Alexander.
By 1914, the Tyler family was living at Queen Elizabeth`s Hunting Lodge
, originally built by King Henry VIII
in 1543 as a grandstand from which to watch the hunt in the ancient Epping Forest
Burt`s younger Brother Alfred Tyler was later a professional footballer for Brighton in 1913 and made guest appearance’s at many clubs during the early part of the war before his call up. These were at Arsenal and Watford during the war and after the war at Charlton between 1920 – 1921.
Alfie also joined the Middlesex Regiment football battalion and was later wounded in August 1918 in the leg and shoulder.
When War was declared, Burt enlisted at Kingsway, Middlesex and joined the 17th Battalion Middlesex Regiment. On the 2nd February 1915. This was a new Battalion of volunteers, often known as Kitcheners Army
or K2 Battalions after Lord Kitchener
who organized their creation.
Burt was posted to C Company of the 17th Battalion , which was also known as the 1st Football Battalion. This was because the Battalion has many professional and international footballers in their ranks.
What is not known is if Burt was himself a football player or in fact was in this Battalion due to the family connections with Football. Joining a certain Battalion was often chosen by a group of friends from a local area.
Burt‘s movements were at follows:
Volunteered to C Company 17th ( 1st Football ) Battalion, Middlesex Regiment on 2nd February 1915.
Based and training at Home in the UK between 8th February to 16th November 1915.
Sent to France on the 17th November 1915 and remained in France until he was wounded on the 28th July 1916. This wound was to his left arm by shell fire.
Burt was invalided back home on the 29th July, where he stayed until fit again on the 21st December 1916. This shell wound was received whilst the 17th Battalion was fighting in the fierce and bloody Battle of Delville Wood
or ‘Devil’s Wood’.
The Regimental History states:
“Early on the morning of the 28th all troops with the exception of the 2nd South Staffordshire Regiment and the 17th Middlesex, were withdrawn from Delville Wood, which was now occupied solely by these two Battalions. Throughout the day the enemy’s shell fire was heavy but at night about 9pm it suddenly became’ intense’ and soon portions of the trenches held in the wood were completely obliterated. A fierce counter-attack was then launched by the Germans but with magnificent tenacity, the garrison of the Wood (2nd South Staffords and 17th Middlesex) held on to the line and beat of all attempts. ‘We beat them off with great loss and held the line’ recorded the 17th Middlesex War Diary”.
Burt would have been taken back out of the Wood to an Advanced Regimental Aid Post and then onto the 2/2nd London Casualty Clearing Station and then prepared to be sent home to England.
Arriving home in England on the 30th July 1916, he was posted to the Middlesex Regiment Depot in Mill Hill, London, even though he was being treated in hospital for his wounds. When fit again he reported to the Depot and was then transferred to the 5th Battalion Middlesex Regiment at Chatham, which was the Reserve Battalion to regain his fitness.
On the 22nd December 1916 he was posted back to the France, but this time having been transferred to the 23rd Battalion Middlesex Regiment. The 23rd Battalion was also a Football Battalion, otherwise known as the 2nd Football Battalion. Again filled with many young football players.
The 23rd Battalion took part in many actions during the year 1917, but much of it was in the Messines area of France.
It was here in the Battle of Messines
that Burt was again wounded by enemy gun shots to his back on the 9th June 1917.
The 23rd Middlesex were involved in the attack on Oasis and Oars Trenches and eventually Damn Strasse, which was the main German objective on the 7th June.
The 23rd Middlesex War Diary between the 8th – 9th June states:
“The 23rd Battalion had experienced an uncomfortable time in the Blue Line (advanced British Front line of captured German Trenches). The enemy’s line north of the Damn Strasse i.e. the Salient, was farther west than the latter and he was, therefore able to enfilade the trenches of the Middlesex, which he did in a most annoying fashion”.
It was during one of these many small actions with the German’s that Burt was wounded.
He was evacuated back to England on the 3rd August 1917 where he was taken to the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford.
It was at this hospital on the 17th August 1917 that Burt died from this wound aged 24 years old.
Burt’s body was taken back home to his parents house and then taken to Chingford Mount Cemetery
and buried in Plot C.R Grave 5311 on the 22nd August 1917. This is actually toward the middle of the cemetery in the centre, near some Commonwealth War Graves.
His headstone is not the usual Commonwealth War Graves headstone. We can only assume that Burt`s family chose to erect a private memorial stone rather than the standard stone erected by the CWGC.
Many thanks to Burt`s nephew Alan for sharing this information with us