It is with great sadness that Bury Grammar School announce the death of Old Boy Colonel Dennis Walton CBE MC TD (RA).
Colonel Walton attended BGS from 1930-39 going up to Emanuel College, Cambridge in 1939 to study Classics where he became a member of the Cambridge University Senior Training Corps. He then went to work in industry in 1946. He joined the Officer Cadet training unit in 1940 and worked his way up to Major in 1944.
Colonel Walton fought heroically throughout the Second World War, especially in the Battle of Monte Cassino, one of the most significant conflicts of the World War II. At one point, he stormed Nazi positions near Rome and single handedly held enemy tanks at bay for hours from a captured tower in a ruined market town. He received an OBE in 1962 and a CBE in 1967. He was awarded the Royal Artillery ‘Certificate of Merit’ in 2008. This was followed by the Royal Artillery Gold Medal in 2010. He was also the Deputy Commander Royal Artillery 42 (Lancs. division 1962-67). These are just a few of his many accolades and awards.
In his memoirs, Colonel Walton remembers his times at BGS with great fondness. He remarked, “Bury Grammar School was a place of wonderment…and opened the gates to advancement. I was so lucky to be at BGS. We were very active politically and had both a Communist and a Fascist in the Sixth Form to enliven our discussions. My gratitude to BGS and its staff is enormous. How stupid can Southerners, who regard North of Watford as an intellectual desert, not see that the lack of support for Northern grammar Schools kills one of the best elements of social mobility.”
Colonel Walton continued to attend events at Bury Grammar School well into his 90’s and always promoted a lively discussion with a merry twinkle in his eye.
Colonel Walton married his wife Barbara Jones in 1949, the daughter of the Mayor of Bury, and is succeeded by two daughters and two grandchildren.
He was a brave soldier, a great intellectual and a huge supporter of Bury Grammar School. He will be sadly missed.