Appeal for Information
Private William Harry Walker
16th (Scottish) Bn Canadian Expeditionary Force
(Service No 28685)
Died in Winnipeg General Hospital, Manitoba, Canada on 28th June 1923, aged 45
Buried in Field of Honour, Brookside Cemetery, Winnipeg, Canada
What do we want to know? What happened to his sisters? What happened to Harry – why did he go from James Island to Winnipeg, was he alone in Canada? What happened to his brother John?
What do we know so far? William Harry Walker, known as Harry, and his twin sister Sarah Jane were born on 3rd January 1878 in Pelsall, Walsall to William and Esther Ann Walker (nee Cresswell). William was a sergeant of police and soon the family moved to Brewood, Staffs and finally to Tutbury.
The family expanded rapidly – another 9 children were born but sadly four of Harry’s siblings died in July/August 1885, including his twin. His only surviving brother John (born 1891) also lost his twin sister Gladys Kate at a year old. All are buried in St. Mary’s churchyard, Tutbury as is their father.
Harry, a brewer’s clerk, emigrated to Canada in 1912. He enlisted in September 1914 in the 16th (Canadian Scottish) Battalion (50th Gordon Highlanders), even though he was over the age limit. He named his mother in Bridge Street, Tutbury as his next of kin.
When he arrived in England with the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), en route to France, Harry was hospitalised with bronchitis in December 1914. He arrived in France in February 1915 but was taken prisoner in May 1915. He remained a prisoner of war for over 3 years.
Harry was repatriated in December 1918 and in July 1919 he was demobbed in Vancouver, Canada, via a fleeting visit to his family in Tutbury. He worked in a dynamite company in James Island, British Columbia but died in Winnipeg General Hospital, Manitoba on 28th June 1923. The primary cause of death was cancer of the pharynx, with a secondary cause of exhaustion.
He was buried in Brookside Cemetery, Winnipeg in the Field of Honour. At the time of his death, the Field of Honour was where serving military personnel who died in the area during WWI were buried and where veterans, who were deemed to have died due to the war at a later date, were also buried. Harry must have come under the latter category – hence his name being added to the then existing WWI plaque in St. Mary’s Church in Tutbury.
What happened to his sisters Frances Maude, born 1879, Olive Beatrice born 1886 (who was a school teacher), Anne Elizabeth Radford born 1888 (also written as Elizabeth Anne Radford) and Ethel Maggie born 1890? Did they marry? Do they have family still living?
Harry’s brother John (born in July 1891) was an apprentice to F J Gane Ltd, the ironmongers in Tutbury. He saw service in WWI with the Sherwood Foresters. He was wounded in July 1916 but returned to France. After his commission with the Ox & Bucks Light Infantry he was again wounded and hospitalised in France.
There the trail ends. What happened to John?
We have Harry’s Canadian Service Records and his Death Certificate and would love to pass these on to the family.
Any help would be gratefully received – Jane and Rick Nuth 01283 810166 or jane at nuth.me.uk or go to the contact page