D. J. Eddy - Photographer
41 Norman Road, St. Leonard's on Sea, Sussex, England
Seaman Gunner Henry Stephen Walker (standing) of the Royal Navy and his younger brother Frederick Thomas Walker of the 7th Hussars (seated) posed together posed for this cabinet photograph at their hometown of St. Leonard’s on Sea, Hastings sometime around 1900. Both men are identified on the photograph's reverse side in an ink inscription.
The brothers were two of at least nine children born to William Edmund Walker and Charlotte Emily Blaker with Henry being born around 1878 and Frederick about 1880.
At the time this photograph was taken Henry had been in the Royal Navy long enough to have become a qualified Seaman Gunner the badge for which he wears on his right sleeve. Unfortunately, his cap is not to be seen in the photograph and its inclusion may have shed light on which ship he was serving at the time.
19-year-old Frederick Thomas Walker attested with the Corps of Hussars of the Line at his hometown on 16 March 1899 and was immediately assigned to the 7th Hussars as Private No. 4628. Frederick's service papers while brief, show no negative entries and show him being entitled to issuances of good conduct pay on two occasions. The first was on 16 March 1901 and the second on 1 April 1904. While his final conduct status is not shown in his papers it might be assumed that it was exemplary.
He was appointed paid lance corporal on 25 August 1902 and promoted corporal on 16 August 1903. Walker left active duty and was transferred to the Army Reserve on 16 March 1906. His final discharge from the reserves took place on 15 March 1911 by which time he had accumulated exactly 12 years of total service time.
Frederick Walker’s only overseas service took place during the Anglo-Boer War and he served in South Africa with the 7th Hussars from 30 November 1901 until 15 March 1906 when he was transferred to the reserves. His military history sheet initially shows him being entitled to both the Queen’s and King’s South Africa Medals but the King’s Medal entry was crossed out at a later time. The Queen's South Africa Medal roll confirms this change and shows him as being entitled to the single medal with the following clasps: “Cape Colony”, “Orange Free State”, “Transvaal”, “South Africa – 1901” and “South Africa – 1902”. After the war, but while still in South Africa Walker earned 3rd and 2nd class certificates of education in 1903 and 1904.
In 1911 Frederick Walker was employed in his hometown as a postal carrier - an occupation that many former service members took up after discharge. Curiously, while Frederick is listed as being married his wife is not enumerated on the census form.
During the Great War Frederick served as Private No. 27831 in the 3rd Reserve Cavalry Regiment. He enlisted on 19 August 1916 and was discharged on 4 December 1918, He did not deploy overseas and was issued Silver War Badge no. B66637.
Born on 7 August 1878 at St. Leonard’s, Sussex, Henry Stephen Walker enlisted in the Royal Navy as No. 176505 on his birthday in 1896.
His statement of service while detailed is hard to read but he appears to have served on no less than 18 vessels and shore establishments through 1922. These include but are not limited to HMS St. Vincent, HMS Australia, HMS Excellent, HMS Resolution, HMS Victory, HMS Camperdown, HMS Duke of Wellington, HMS Venom, HMS Agincourt, and HMY Victoria & Albert.
He was promoted to able seaman on 1 November 1897 and then to leading seaman on 18 June 1905. Walker was reduced to able seaman (rigger) on 22 September 1906. Promoted to petty officer on 1 October 1918, he retained this rating until discharged on 31 May 1923.
Royal Navy medal rolls for the Great War, show No. 176505 Petty Officer Henry S. Walker being entitled to the Star (not specifying either the 1914 or the 1914-15) and the British War and Victory Medals. Applicable award criteria mean that the unspecified star award was the 1914-15 Star. His statement of service shows him serving on the dreadnought battleship Agincourt for virtually the entire war from 4 August 1914 to 30 January 1919.
Walker took part in the Battle of Jutland while the Agincourt was attached to the 1st Battle Squadron, 6th Division. During the battle, the Agincourt engaged an unidentified German battlecruiser and a Kaiser-class battleship. The Agincourt also evaded two German destroyer launched torpedoes. Walker also witnessed the surrender of the German High Seas Fleet at Scapa Flow from the deck of the Agincourt on 21 November 1918.
Walker finished out his naval career onboard the royal yacht HMY Victoria & Albert.
Henry Walker married Alice Bertha Farndell in July 1902 at Westbourne, Sussex. The couple had two children: Stephen William Charles (b. 1904) and Irene Constance (b. 1907). The 1939 census for Portsmouth shows Walker employed as a painter. He passed away at Portsmouth in March 1960.
In this photograph the photographer has carefully retouched both men's hair to make it stand out a bit more.