Tuesday 9 August 2016

2nd Lieutenant Richard Walker R.I.P.


We have in our church a fine, silver monstrance, which has the following inscription: "Pray for Richard Walker  Killed in Action  9th August 1916". Today is the centenary of his death.

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This photograph is by kind courtesy of the archivist of Downside.

Richard Walker was born on 24th April 1883, the only son of Charles William Walker of Holmshurst, Burwash, Sussex. He was educated at Downside School from 1894 to 1902, and came up to Christ Church from 1902–3, where he took a B.A.

The book Downside and the War 1914-1918 records that,

"In his last year at school "Dick" Walker passed the Higher Certificate in seven subjects and won the History, English Literature and Essay Prize, and the French Prize. He played cricket in the Second Eleven, and will be remembered by his contemporaries as the best boxer of his generation at Downside. He was an ideal Captain of the Boxing Club, most energetic and successful, and through his efforts, boxing became very popular in the School. He himself won the Challenge Cup several times, and being unchallenged in 1902, the cup became his absolutely. From Downside he went to Christ Church College, Oxford, and continued to distinguish himself as a boxer at the University.

Early in the War, in spite of great difficulties in the way, he joined the Artists' Rifles, volunteered for foreign service, and went to France with his battalion in October, 1914. He ultimately became a company sergeant-major, and in 1916 obtained a commission in the Lancashire Fusiliers."

Our thanks to the Archives of Downside Abbey and School for allowing us to use this information.

Killed in action at Trônes Wood, Richard Walker's name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial, Pier and Face 3C and 3D.



This photograph is from the Imperial War Museum. © IWM (HU 126967)

May he rest in peace.