Private James F. Walker


James F. Walker was born on 22 June 1893 at Ballinfull, County Sligo, the first of eight children of farmer Thomas Charles Walker and his wife Louisa (nee Reynolds). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Ballinfull with his parents and six surviving siblings and working on the family farm.

Walker enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 30 July and 19 August 1912 (No.729). He embarked for France with C Squadron on 20 August 1914, seeing action on the retreat from Mons and advance to the Aisne.

In May and June 1916 C Squadron combined with F Squadron and the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to X Corps until September 1917, when the regiment was disbanded and its men were transferred to the infantry. Like most, Walker joined the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – on 20 September. He was issued regimental number 41539. It is likely that he saw action with the battalion during the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

In early 1918 Walker was attached to A Company of the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers. He was captured at St Quentin on 21 March 1918 on the first day of the German spring offensive.

Walker spent the remainder of the war as a prisoner of war – records show that he was at the Stendal camp in September. He was released soon after the Armistice, arriving at Dover on 2 December 1918.

Walker later emigrated, settling at West Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

On 15 April 1921 his 71-year-old father was murdered at Ballinfull by a group of masked men (see article below).


Larne Times, 7 May 1921