According to his attestation papers dated April 14, 1916 at Toronto, Walter George Riches was born on January 3, 1899 in Humber Bay, Ontario. He listed his mother Mrs. Lottie Riches, 27 Fuller Avenue, Toronto as his next of kin. He was single and a painters apprentice. He was an active member of the 12th York Rangers. He was 17 years and 3 months of age and stood 5 feet 5 1/2 inches tall. He had blue eyes, dark brown hair and a dark complexion. He was a member of the Church of England.
According to the 1911 census the family was living on Salisbury Avenue (present day Park Lawn Road). Jessie Riches, his father emigrated to Canada from England in 1889.
According to the 1914 Toronto city directory, Jessie Riches was a brick maker living on the east side of Salisbury Avenue.