Born: 5 December 1894
Died: 27 March 1918
Service number: 17318
Rank: Lance Corporal
Regiment/Service: 5th Battalion, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Family information: Son of James Luis and Martha walker of Cross Pipes Road, Alverthorpe
Francis Milthorp Walker was the youngest brother of my grandmother, Lilian Shuttleworth, nee Walker, of Alverthorpe. He was killed during German attacks on the Arras sector of the Western Front in Spring 1918. He was 23 years old, and has no known grave. His photo appeared in the Wakefield Express; Saturday 27 April 1918 under the front page heading of “Local Heroes of the Great War”.
He enlisted in Wakefield and had a chequered career since joining Kitchener’s army in September 1914, having been in every battle in the Ypres sector since that date, being slightly wounded twice. He figured in the Cambrai fight, and was one of a few machine gunners who returned from that memorable struggle, his platoon taking the trophies twice in short time. For three winters he served in the trenches and met his end in resisting the overwhelming forces of the enemy on Wednesday, 27 March, 1918.
He was entitled to three separate campaign medals - 1914/15 Star; British War Medal; Victory Medal - according to his Medal Index Card from the National Archives. His medals are now held by his nephew, Peter Walker who lives in Scotland.
Francis was the youngest child of James Luis Walker (died 1920) and Martha Walker, nee Whitehead (died 1912) and lived with them at Cross Pipes Road, Alverthorpe. When he was killed in action he was 23 years of age. His surviving brothers and sisters were Lilian, James William, Fanny, Walter, Sarah Ellen (“Nellie”), and Florence (“Florrie”). Before the war he was a junior partner in Messrs. Walker Bros., printer’s engineers, Westgate Common, Wakefield.
Wakefield Express Roll of Honour: WALKER
In tender and abiding remembrance of a loving son and brother, Lance-Corpl. Francis Milthorp Walker, late of Alverthorpe, killed in action in France, 27 March, 1918. Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. May his reward be as great as his sacrifice.- From Father, Brothers, Sisters, and Mabel. (“Mabel” was likely to have been his girlfriend/fiancé pictured in a surviving photograph with him.)
Wakefield Express - Thanks for Sympathy: MR. J. L. WALKER and FAMILY wish to THANK all friends for sympathy in their sad bereavement – Alverthorpe, Wakefield.
Francis Milthorp Walker is commemorated in St Paul’s Church, Alverthorpe; his name being included in a memorial plaque at the East Window to those local men who died in the 1914 - 1918 war. His name is also included in the Roll of Honour plaque in the church, showing those who served in the forces during the war.
He owned a set of ebony and ivory dominoes in a wooden box which were given to my grandmother, then to my father (who was named after him - “Frank”), and are now in my possession, intact and with Francis Walker’s name and initials still visible on the box. They are the most personal surviving link to his memory.
Story submitted by: Neil Shuttleworth.