Private John Walker


John Walker was born on 9 July 1899 at 3 Stream Street, Newry, County Down, the second of seven children of carpenter Robert Walker and his wife Margaret (née Dawson). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 30 Dargan Street, Bray, County Wicklow, with his parents and siblings, the family having moved there around 1903. After his father died at the Loughlinstown Workhouse in July 1912, the family moved to live with relatives at Flurrybridge, County Armagh.

Walker enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Dundalk on 27 July 1917, reporting for duty at Antrim three days later. There he was issued regimental number 2638 (later Corps of Hussars No.71949). He gave his occupation as labourer and his address as Flurrybridge. On later documents he listed his last employer as Birkenhead Brewery, Birkenhead.

On 5 February 1918 at Antrim Walker was charged with being absent from guard mounting and was awarded '3 days' parade behind the guard'.

He embarked for France on 23 November 1918 (twelve days after the war had ended) with a reinforcement draft for the North Irish Horse Cyclist Regiment, joining it in the field on 10 December. On 7 June 1919, with around twenty other North Irish Horsemen, he transferred to the Army Cyclist Corps (No.23923) and was posted to IV Corps Cyclist Regiment, part of the Army of Occupation based in Rolsdorf, Germany.

On 23 June at Rolsdorf he was awarded 14 days' Field Punishment No.2 and loss of two days' pay for returning late from leave in the UK.

Walker was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve, on 10 November 1919. His military character was recorded as 'very good'.