An Old Coathamian – Not Forgotten

Herbert Newton WALKER

Lieutenant, 107th Company, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry),
Formerly of the South Staffordshire Regiment.

Born 28 June 1890,
Died 6 June 1917, aged 26 years.

Buried in Pond Farm Cemetery, Heuvelland,
West-Vlaanderen, Belgium, Grave Q.2.

107th Company was the machine gun company of the Ulster-raised 107 Brigade, which was in turn part of the 36th (Ulster) Division. Lieutenant Walker died on the eve of the Battle of Messines (7–14 June 1917), a battle in which 36th (Ulster) Division played a notable part. There are 296 Commonwealth servicemen buried or commemorated in this cemetery.

Herbert Newton Walker was the son of Newton and Alice Louisa Walker. The family lived in Coatham at 9, Portland Terrace, and his father was an auctioneer. He had a younger sister, Ellen Maud, born in 1892. Herbert, aged eight, started at Coatham Grammar School as a fee-paying day boy in January 1899. He stayed nearly 14 terms, leaving mid-term in November 1903 when he was 13. In March 1907 the family emigrated to Canada, Herbert being listed as a 16 year-old ‘labourer’ in the shipping records. On September 16th 1914, stating his occupation then as a draughtsman, he volunteered for the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force at Val Cartier in Quebec, joining the first COEF contingent to be formed. The first Canadian contingents suffered very heavily at the First Battle of Ypres in March 1915 and it is possible he was assigned to the South Staffordshire Regiment after that. Commonwealth War Graves records confirm that both his parents were still living in British Columbia at the time of his death.