The AIF Project

Frederick Bernard WALKER

Regimental number2682
Place of birthBurton-on-Trent, England
SchoolMatraville Public School, Botany, New South Wales
Age on arrival in Australia8
ReligionMethodist
OccupationLabourer
AddressFranklin Street, Botany, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation17
Height5' 6"
Weight136 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs Elizabeth Smith, Franklin Street, Botany, New South Wales
Previous military serviceServed in the Cadets.
Enlistment date3 October 1916
Place of enlistmentSydney, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name36th Battalion, 5th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/53/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A24 Benalla on 9 November 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll36th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 10 June 1917
Place of death or woundingMessines, Belgium
Age at death18.4
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 25), Belgium

The Menin Gate Memorial (so named because the road led to the town of Menin) was constructed on the site of a gateway in the eastern walls of the old Flemish town of Ypres, Belgium, where hundreds of thousands of allied troops passed on their way to the front, the Ypres salient, the site from April 1915 to the end of the war of some of the fiercest fighting of the war.

The Memorial was conceived as a monument to the 350,000 men of the British Empire who fought in the campaign. Inside the arch, on tablets of Portland stone, are inscribed the names of 56,000 men, including 6,178 Australians, who served in the Ypres campaign and who have no known grave.

The opening of the Menin Gate Memorial on 24 July 1927 so moved the Australian artist Will Longstaff that he painted 'The Menin Gate at Midnight', which portrays a ghostly army of the dead marching past the Menin Gate. The painting now hangs in the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, at the entrance of which are two medieval stone lions presented to the Memorial by the City of Ypres in 1936.

Since the 1930s, with the brief interval of the German occupation in the Second World War, the City of Ypres has conducted a ceremony at the Memorial at dusk each evening to commemorate those who died in the Ypres campaign.

Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: George and Elizabeth Smith WALKER.
Family/military connectionsCousin: 5742 Pte J.W. SWAIN, 3rd Bn, killed in action, 5 May 1917.
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Sydney, 9 November 1916; disembarked Devonport, England, 9 January 1917, and marched into 9th Training Bn.

Proceeded overseas to France, 5 April 1917; taken on strength, 36th Bn, in the field, 26 April 1917.

Killed in action, Belgium, 10 June 1917.

Statement, Red Cross File, 2683 Pte A.H. WHITCHER, 36th Bn 18 September 1917: 'A man belonging to my unit by name of Pte. F.B. Walker 2682 36th Battn A.I.F. He was killed by a piece of shell on the night of the 10th June June 1917 death being instantaneous. Under the conditions existing at that time burial in a soldiers' cemetery would have been impossible and it is almost certain that he would have received burial in the field. I was with him at the time of his death and saw him again next morning in the presence of his step-brother F. Smith who got all his personal belongings and forwarded them all to his people in Australia ... '

Second statement, 2349 Pte A. LEWIS, 36th Bn, 8 August 1917: I had the following from Pte Witcher, B. Coy. who was Walker's mate. He said that he was killed when the Battn. went over to attack Le Potterie Farm, Messines, on June 10th. He said his head was blown clean off the moment he got off on to the parapet ... '

Third statement, 1143 Pte W. JARRETT, 36th Bn (patient, Duston War Hospital, Northampton), 6 August 1917: 'Walker was killed by shrapnel in the trench at Messines. It was daytime. He was taken back and buried.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, WALKER Frederick Bernard
Red Cross File No 2830611L

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