Michael and Sarah Walker ... ... William Walker and Jane Darling Brown ...

Alvin George Walker

3-Alvin George Walker was born on 10 Oct 1890 in Deloraine, Tasmania, died on 22 Oct 1917 while escaping from a German prisoner of war camp at age 27, and was buried in Cologne Southern Cemetery (Plot X, Row C, Grave 4), Germany.

Alvin Walker 1916

Alvin George Walker, seventh son of a seventh son and ninth child of William and Jane, was born on 10th October, 1890. More than one of Alvin's cousins, had the above facts of descent been realised, would have been capable of perpetrating some such jingle as: "The seventh son of the seventh son Of a son of a gun from Tottington''.

The composition of impromptu rhymes was characteristic not only of the Walkers of Alvin's and succeeding generations, but of some neighbouring families. "Come along girls and boys And hobble de hoys."

Said the matron in charge at a party of youngsters setting out for a Sunday School picnic. "If you want to live and do good you must straighten iron nails on wood", observed an older brother, demonstrating the process Alvin, who exhibited versatility and talent in a variety of fields, wrote a fair hand, and could express himself adequately on paper, may well have contributed his quota of rhymes; but this like so much more concerning Alvin, is no longer known.

Members of the branch of William summed up his brief career as follows: "After spending his youth on the farm and working about he answered the call of his country, which led to his being taken prisoner of war on 1st February, 1917 by the Germans. He died in a prisoner of war camp on 21st October, 1917." Copies of press items relating to Alvin's death are reproduced below.

Mrs. W. Walker, of Dunorlan, has received official advice (through the Rev. R. E. Hooper) that her son, Alvin died from wounds on the 22nd of last month. The late Private Walker was a prisoner of war in Germany, and recent communications from him gave evidence of his being in good health and spirits, hence the news of his decease comes as a great blow to his relatives.

WALKER — On the 21st October, 1917, Private Alvin George Walker, seventh and dearly loved youngest son of the late W. and Mrs. Walker, of Dunorlan, aged 27 years, Prisoner of war in Germany since the 1st of February, 1917.

Alvin was closely associated with Norman Walker at various times. He worked on "Briar Hill" with Norman and is still very clearly recalled by Norman's son Jack, although Jack was under three and a half years of age at the time, and the memories are over seventy years old. Jack recalls sitting in front of Alvin on horseback, being carried across the farm yard through a flock of geese, being held up to play with the working parts of a reaper and binder, and Alvin's dark curly hair, and his complexion, somewhat pale in memory, and the shape of his face, chin recalled as somewhat more pointed, than it appears to be in a photograph of Alvin in uniform.

Norman talked a lot about Alvin while droving, of his skill with bullocks and his meticulous care with horses. "Who was the first to brush Jimmy's mane down when he was a foal?" asked Jack, referring to a galloway who was then still a comparatively young horse. "I expect it was Alvin", replied Norman, "He always remembered to brush the foals' manes down soon after they were born". Alvin was also recalled as a fine shot with the .22 rifle — "He never missed running rabbits at sixty yards" — and a good bushman. "He could keep himself alive with half a dozen rabbit traps". He was a good hand at cooking rabbits, too, often leaving one to bake in a container covered with hot ash and coals while he was working. He sometimes described a fire as being "hot because it's made with little sticks".

Alvin also worked for Norman at "Eaglehawk", a bush run situated at Kimberley, probably under some form of contract, because shortly before leaving to enter the army he sent Norman a bill for clearing carried out with bullock teams. The account is still in Jack's possession, also Alvin's letter acknowledging receipt of the money. Alvin was sorely missed on "Eaglehawk", Norman even going so far as to say that the near impossibility of adequately replacing Alvin was a factor in Norman's financial failure. Alvin had virtually the status of a folk hero, particularly because he was believed to have been shot while attempting to escape from prison camp. Jack grew up with the legend, which was mentioned occasionally by people about Exton in the early 1920's. The attempt at escaping was seen as being in character. 4'He always was a determined little wretch", commented more than one.

The content of letters received from Alvin while he was in training at Broadmeadows appears below.

Broadmeadows Nov. 2nd, 1915 Dear Auntie,

I thought I had better send you a photo to let you see I have not forgotten you yet. We are having a splendid time over here, it is a terrible lazy life so far but it is a chance I am glad I did not miss it is better than work. Sometimes I feel as if I would like to go to work again but it does not last long we only have to do about six hours drill in the day and sometimes we put the most of that in sitting down I will now say good bye. Love to your self and Alma. From your loving Nephew Pte A G Walker 12 Refnts 15 Batt Tas Unit No 4. Broadmeadows Victoria.

Broadmeadows Oct 18th, 1915 Dear Norman,

I thought I would write a few lines to you I should have written to you before but I have got terrible lazy since I went to camp first I never gave it a thought when we were leaving Claremont or I would have written to you we came by Launceston if you had known you could have come and had a look at me but there is no use complaining now as it was my fault. I would have liked to have seen you to have a chat to you for a while. It is a great life in camp we are having a great time over here we are sitting down more than half our time so far over here. They say it is terrible place here when it rains it gets very muddy something like Eaglehawk I suppose if it is as wet over there as it was when I was home on final. I have not seen any one over here I know yet they think we might be here till about the end of the month if we are we will be able to have a bit of a look round we might as well have a good time while we get the chance it might not last long but I am glad I enlisted sometimes I feel as if I would like to be back at Eaglehawk. I suppose you got the papers I left them with Mother I thought that was the best place for them as I did not see you before I went to camp. I got the money all right I feel ashamed of myself that I did not write to you to let you know about things before but I am not worrying much about money now we don't do much for what we get but I was loafing about on Sunday and it struck me I ought to write to you I think I must close for this time

I remain Yours Truly Pte A G Walker 12 Refits Aif Tas 15 Batt No. 4071 Broadmeadows Vic

Of all the cousins, Alvin's memory has ever been that held in highest regard in the branch of John. Norman Walker talked about him until the end of his days, cherishing the hope that the mantle of Alvin's skill with the rifle would fall upon the shoulders of some of his own descendants.

Alvin's army records show:

 

Regimental number 4071

Place of birth

Blackmoor Whitefoord Hills, Tasmania

School

Brookhead State School, Tasmania

Religion

Methodist

Occupation

Labourer

Address

Whiteford Hills, Tasmania

Marital status

Single

Age at embarkation

26

Next of kin

Mother, Mrs J Walker, Whiteford Hills, Tasmania

Enlistment date

4 September 1915

Rank on enlistment

Private

Unit name

15th Battalion, 12th Reinforcement

AWM Embarkation Roll number

23/32/2

Embarkation details

Unit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT RMS Orontes on 24 November 1915

Rank from Nominal Roll

Private

Unit from Nominal Roll

15th Battalion

Fate

Died whilst a Prisoner of War 25 October 1917

Place of death or wounding

Wounded in France, died prisoner in Germany.

Age at death

26

Place of burial

Cologne Southern Cemetery (Plot X, Row C, Grave 4), Germany.

Panel number, Roll of Honour, Australian War Memorial

78