Found on a family tree on ancesty.co.uk along with a family photograph of Billings, his parents and sisters.
Presumably from a local paper.
FROM: Walter Joseph Edward Bavis
Miscellaneous -- Account of the death of my cousin S. Walter Billings(only son of Uncle Bruce and Aunt Francis -- Agnes Bavis)
CHELTENHAM SOLICITOR KILLED
Mr. S. Walter Billings dies a Hero's death in France.
With deep regret, which will be shared by all who knew him, it is our painful duty to announce the death, as the result of wounds received in France of Mr. Samuel Walter Billings, an honored member of the Cheltenham legal fraternity, who joined the University and Public School Batt. within a few weeks of the outbreak of the war. He was wounded on January 2, and taken to the casualty clearing station. An operation was found necessary, and this was performed successfully, but his injury was such that even his splendid physique could not rally from the shock, and he passed away at 7:30 on the morning of January 3, 1916.
The only son of the late Mr. Samuel Bruce Billings, a well known solicitor of Cheltenham, and of Mrs. Bruce Billings, of Pen Rhys, Battledown, where he resided, the deceased was a grandson of Mr. Thomas Billings (P-6-15), also a solicitor, whom the older generation of Cheltonians will remember as practicing in Regent Street, and as largely concerned in the laying out of the Fullwood Park district and the charging of ground rents thereon. Born 36 years ago, he was educated privately by Mr. W. Ward Whittard B.A., of Cheltenham, and following his father and grandfather into the legal profession he was enrolled in April, 1902, and has since practiced as a conveyancer at Bank-Chambers, North Street. A young man of very high principles, he was held in great esteem in the profession and having excellent ability, he might well have attained a distinguished position ... But with a chivalrous sense of duty which before the high call of the present war might have been deemed almost quixotic, he was among the earliest to realize the country's needs in the great struggle sprung upon the Empire, and within six weeks of the outbreak of the war he had settled his business affairs and offered his service to the nation. He was accepted, for the University and Public School Batt. and we understand that he was offered a commission. His one ambition, however, was to do something for his King and Country, and with this was not mixed the slightest element of self-aggrandizement. Thus even against the advice of his friends he continued in the ranks. In his case the decision, although it was entirely in keeping with a disposition singularly lovable and free from assertiveness was somewhat to be regretted for physically and intellectually he had the qualifications which would have made a fine officer he being a young man of unusual capacity, notable also for his handsome features, and stature and lithe carriage. As a pedestrian he probably had no equal in town. He rejoiced in big rambles over our own country-side and with kindred spirits on occasions enjoyed long tramps on the Yorkshire moors, sleeping 'a' la belle e' toile. We remember it being humorously remarked when he enlisted that if the Germans were to be beaten by marching S.W. Billings would march the whole of Hundom off its legs; and we have been told that in his battalion composed as it was of public school men, amongst whom were a great number of well-known athletes, there was not a man who could stand a day's march like him.
Of all the various activities of his active disposition he will be most widely remembered s a chess player, for he achieved more than local fame in the game. Mr. Billings was widely known by name, and personally to most of the good players in the county. He joined the Cheltenham Chess Club as a lad, about twenty years ago, and soon got into the first class. A few years later he won the local championship, repeated this success at intervals, being generally second when not first in the "Cheltenham Cup" Tournament. He held the cup five times, and during these years led the clubs match team in contests with Bristol, Birmingham, Oxford University, etc., and he also became known in county and in national chess. At the congress at Glasgow, about five years ago, he won first prize in the 1st Class Amateur Tourney. As a sporting venture on the strength of his success he tried his luck in the British Open Championship at Richmond-on-Thames, three years ago, but with such men as Blackburne and others playing, the young amateur was rather outclassed. He took part in the Cheltenham Congress, in 1913, with a good score, but did not quite reach the prize list. Mr. Billings was the secretary of the local Chess Club for six years, retiring from this position about six years ago, and has been a vice-president since. He visited the club twice during the past year, and remained a member. The knowledge, difficult at first to realize, that never again will he be seen in the club-room, is a severe blow to the club and more especially the elder members who had known him from boyhood.
Another of the late Mr. Billings' intellectual hobbies was astronomy, in the pursuit of which, we believe, he was associated with Mr. Steavenson, the young Cheltenham Collegian, who was a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society for his first observation in this country of a famous comet four or five years ago. A fine celestial telescope, presented him by his friends, was one of his cherished possessions. The trend of his mind was, however, by no means confined to physical and intellectual pursuits. With a disposition the geniality of which won for him the friendship and admiration of all with whom he came into contact, it was not surprising to find coupled strong humanitarian feelings. He associated himself warmly with the work of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, was largely responsible for the presentation to Corporation of an influentially signed petition in favor of humane methods in local slaughter-houses. Mr. S. Bruce Billings, father of the subject of this notice, was member of the Plymouth Brethren, and his son was brought up in the tenets of that denomination. For some years past, however, he attended Christ Church, but of such a man it might be said that to whatever church he belonged he would do it honor, and whatever principles he professed would command respectful hearing from such an advocate. Politically he was a Unionist, but he could not be described as a "party man" in the strict sense of the term, for with strongly held opinions he coupled much of the spirit of the eclectic. Mr. Billings, who is survived by his mother and three sisters, was not married. When he enlisted he arranged with a brother practitioner in the town for the oversight of his professional affairs and this arrangement will, we understand, hold good for the present.
A sad fact in connection with the news of the fine young soldier's death is that with the news, which was sent by a nursing sister, was sent a letter written by him before going into action on the day he received his fatal wound. Some days ago his relations, with whom the utmost sympathy will be felt, received a letter from him describing his Christmas at the front, and stating that he and his comrades managed to sit down to a good Christmas dinner at a cottage.
Amongst professional positions held by Mr. Billings was that of solicitor to the Imperial Lodge of Oddfellows, a position held by his father before him, both being members of the Order.