MAJOR WALTER GUSTAVUS WORTHINGTON MC
LONDON REGIMENT, THE RANGERS
27TH APRIL 1918 AGE 28
BURIED: ST SEVER CEMETERY, ROUEN, FRANCE
Major Worthington was gassed at Villers Bretonneux on 21 April 1918 and died six days later in hospital in Rouen. I've written before about dying from the effects of gas:
"The effects of mustard gas take some time to develop. First, several hours after exposure, a mild skin irritation appears. Eventually the affected areas turn yellow and agonising blisters develop. The eyes become red, sore and runny and extreme pain and sometimes blindness can follow. These symptoms can be accompanied by nasal congestion, sinus pain, hoarseness, coughing and in extreme cases respiratory failure."
Worthington was obviously an extreme case.
Walter Worthington, educated at Charterhouse and Oriel College, Oxford, was a territorial soldier who joined The Rangers in 1911. Mobilized on the outbreak of war, he was deployed to France on Christmas Day 1914 - three months after his elder brother Reginald, a lieutenant in the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry had been killed in action on 16 September at the Battle of the Aisne.
His mother, Eveline, chose his inscription, choosing to highlight the manner of her son's death, the precise length of his military service, and his father's initials. George Montague Worthington, a barrister, had died in 1913 so Mrs Worthington managed to get in a reference to him too on her son's headstone. One of the things the War Graves Commission were very strict about was mentioning other family members on a soldier's headstone. You could say that the dead solider was the son of .... , you could mention by name the numerous brothers and sisters who mourned, you could mention the names of his brothers who'd also died in the war, but you couldn't include a civilian/family death on your headstone - something like "and his wife, Betty, who died in 1921" - unless you were buried in Britain. Not sure of the logic but that's how it was.