Private John Frederick Walker


John Frederick Walker was born in Belfast around 1892, the first of two children of carpenter John Walker and Edith Eugenia Bonwick. His mother died when he was an infant and his younger brother a few months later. At the time of the 1911 Census he and his father were living at 35 Shore Road, Belfast, at the home of his aunt Juletta Porter, her husband and four of their children, and working as a carpenter. His father died due to diabetes the following year.

Walker enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 12 and 27 December 1916 (regimental number between 2324 and 2334 (probably 2327) – later Corps of Hussars No.71756). He remained at the regimental reserve camp at Antrim until January 1918, when he embarked for Egypt with a draft of around fifty North Irish Horsemen from the Antrim camp. There he was attached to the 1/1st Nottinghamshire Yeomanry (Sherwood Rangers), serving with that regiment in the Palestine campaign.

While overseas Walker fell ill. Unable to return to frontline service, on 15 or 16 October 1918 he was transferred to the Labour Corps (No.621891). Having returned home, he was discharged on 28 January 1920. He was granted a pension as a result of his illness, his level of disability assessed at 100 per cent in May 1920.

Walker died at his home, 7 East Lynne, Castleton Gardens, Belfast, on 16 July 1921, aged just 27. The cause of death was diabetes. Whether this was caused or aggravated by his military service is not known, but it seems a strong possibility. He was buried in the Belfast City Cemetery.