Walter Savage Landor Dickens was born on 8 February 1841 and named after Dickens’s close friend Walter Savage Landor, who was also his godfather. He was christened at Saint Marylebone Parish Church on 4 December 1841, after which Charles Dickens is said to have held a celebratory party that included guests such as Daniel Maclise and William Charles Macready as well as Walter Savage Landor.
Through the influence of Dickens’s friend Angela Burdett-Coutts, Walter became a cadet in the East India Company, leaving England for India in 1857 aged 16. Charles Dickens is reported to have seen both Walter his oldest son Charley set sail for India from Southampton.
Walter served in the 26th Native Infantry Regiment whilst in India, and was attached to the 42nd Regiment of Foot (The Black Watch) with that rank. He run up a number of debts whilst serving, causing his health to suffer. Although due to be sent back to England on medical grounds, Walter died of an aortic aneurysm on 31 December 1863 at the Officers’ Hospital in Calcutta in India. He was buried at the Park Street Cemetery, Calcutta.
Charles Dickens is said to have not received the news of Walter’s death until his own birthday on 7 February 1864, and to have later received Walter’s unpaid bills.
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