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Walter Coe was born in Cowra in 1895. He enlisted for WWI several times, including at Orange in May 1917. Walter was one of nine known Aboriginal servicemen with a connection to Orange. Four of Walter’s brothers also volunteered for the First World War, as did his uncle, John Henry Alfred Coe, who was killed in action at Pozieres in 1917.
Coe enlisted initially in January 1916 at Cowra in the 13th Reinforcements for the 17th Battalion. He was discharged just three months later, but re-enlisted in Orange in May 1917. He attended camp at Menangle Park as a trooper in the 6th Light Horse Regiment. He then became a private in A Company Composite Battalion, 10th GSR, embarking from Melbourne in October 1918. He was transferred to the 57th Battalion and then the Australian Army Medical Corps Details.
In October 1919 Walter married Fanny Challenger, a British nursemaid in Bath, UK. He returned to Australia in May 1920 and was discharged from the AIF the following month.