"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He has invariably shown conspicuous gallantry and untiring energy, particularly on patrol work, frequently obtaining very valuable information at great personal risk. On one occasion he carried in a wounded man under heavy shell fire, totally regardless of danger."
Also wrote songs for the team to sing, including his special adaptation of "Macnamara's Band", as related in Jack Davis' book 'One Hundred Years of Newport Rugby'. This was the Newport team's own song for many years, but the older players, especially those who helped to beat the 1912 Springboks, preferred Martin's "We are in the team for life." The words were:-
"When at football we've been playing
Many happy days we've seen,
Oh, that we were ever staying
In the Newport First Fifteen,
Let us then, our voices lifting,
Sing of comrade, sweetheart, wife,
On a football gently drifting
We'll go down the stream of life."
"Wreford, Hirst, Birt, Wetter, Plummer,
Vile and Martin, Uzzell, Wet,
Dibble, Doctor, Jones and Williams,
Rowly, Bell and Boots the "vet".
Let them talk of new men proving,
Should they drop us there'll be strife,
You can bet we'll take some moving,
We are in the Team for life."
"Years may come and years may go boys,
But our hearts are still the same,
And we know our children's children
Still will play the grand old game.
Naught shall then old friendships sever,
Though we drop out from the strife
For in heart and in memory,
We are in the team for life."
Worked for Great Western Railway at Newport Docks after World War I but was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 1933. Sadly he suffered suicidal tendencies and hanged himself 30th April 1933 at Woolaston House (now St. Woolos Hospital). Bearers of his coffin on 3rd May from his home in Rodney Road, as thousands lined the streets, included N. McPherson, J. Wetter, H. Uzzell, F. Birt and of course Tommy Vile.
During the 4 years that Vile and Martin captained Newport their record was: P158 W119 D18 L21 - Vile played 134 games and Martin 155 (including all 41 when captain).
The match programme for the 'W. J. Martin Memorial' game, Newport and District v Barbarians, on 12th October 1933 included the following obituary:-
"WALTER J. MARTIN."
"By W. J. TOWNSEND COLLINS"
"Editor of "The South Wales Argus"."
"In the long line of distinguished players and good fellows who have worn the black-and-amber jersey of Newport Rugby Football Team there never was a player more generally beloved and honoured than Walter Martin. He was the incarnation of the spirit of sportsmanship. On the field and off it he symbolised and revealed the chivalry, courtesy, and comradeship of the game. His untimely death, after a long and painful illness, at the early age of forty-nine was a great grief to his innumerable friends, who look back with gratitude not only for his contribution to the joy of the greatest of games, but also to his contributions to the joy of life."
"Walter was an all-round man. He was not only a Rugby player of distinction, but he had literary gifts and powers as an entertainer. He wrote topical verse. He was at one time a regular contributor to the columns of the "South Wales Argus." He had social gifts, charm of manner. He was simple and unaffected, balanced in judgment, generously appreciative of the good qualities of others, and not in the least inclined to over estimate his own powers and success. In his earlier years before his place in the Newport team was assured, he played cheerfully for the Seconds when he was passed over for the premier team. He played for the joy of the game, and if he was not considered good enough for the first fifteen he did his best for the seconds. This willingness to take a second place was the more remarkable as he had had a distinguished career at Newport Intermediate School (now the High School), which he entered with a scholarship. He was Captain of the Hockey Team; Vice-Captain of the Association Football Team and Cricket XI; he went to the final of the School Lawn Tennis Tournament. But these boyish honours did not spoil him any more than the honours which came to him later."
"He took what came of honour and responsibility, of praise and blame, without elation and without complaint, and year after year he made more secure his place in the hearts of his friends and of the larger public who knew him in other spheres."
"It was when he became associated permanently with Tommy Vile that Martin reached the highest level of his success as a player. It secured him his place in the Welsh team, it carried him to honoured and deserved captaincy of the Newport team in 1912-13. It was under his leadership that Newport won that celebrated game against the Springboks in 1912. It was Walter Martin who scored the winning try in that sensational game against the Harlequins in 1910 when Newport won by seventeen points to fifteen through Martin's try scored right at the end of the game. Walter had more than an average measure of speed, and he was a particularly clever runner with a very effective swerve. His defence was not as good as his attack, but he was an excellent tackler if he could get his man on the flank, and many a game he saved by cutting across to the wing when opponents were developing attacks."
"He was one of that gallant band of members of Newport Athletic Club who formed the N.A.C. Platoon of the 8th Batt. South Wales Borderers and served in Salonika. He held the rank of Ccmpany-Sergt.-Major, and it was with the goodwill of all his comrades that the D.C.M. awarded to the Platoon went to him. When the war was over, he took up football again, and played in 1919-20 and 1920-21. From 1919 till 1927 he was Football Honorary Secretary of Newport Athletic Club, and his efficiency was as great as his popularity."
"Now that we look back - while we remember his brilliant play, his flashing runs, his service to the club, his military career, his social gifts - we remember him chiefly for what he was beyond and above his gifts and works. He, too, had "the genius to be loved". "