Tag Archives: Helen Black Cadzow

James Hope WALKER, RFC, 1896 – 1917

With the centenary, tomorrow, of his death in a flying accident during WW1, I want to post something about this Great-Uncle, James Hope WALKER.

James Hope WALKER was born on 3rd July 1896, at Kilpunt, Kirkliston, West Lothian, the second child (first son) of Thomas George WALKER, and Helen Black WALKER (nee CADZOW). His middle-name, “Hope”, is almost certainly a nod to the family’s landlord at Kilpunt; Lord HOPE, the Earl of Hopetoun.james-hope-walker_birth-cert-merged

In 1898 the WALKER family moved south to farm in Hertfordshire; first to Hyde Hall, Buntingford (here is Hyde Hall Farm’s current website and Facebook page), and then in 1904 to Symonds Hyde, Hatfield.

James Hope WALKER joined the 14th London Regiment (the London Scottish) as a Private (Pte.). Regimental.No.4335. The photos of him wearing a kilt (below) appear to be his London Scottish regimental uniform. His medal card shows that he first entered the “Theatre of War”, in France on 4th July 1915.

This letter, dated 24th May 1916, contains an order from the War Office to J.H.Walker’s commanding officer in the London Scottish Regiment, for him to report for training with an Officer Cadet Unit, on 29th May at Whittington Barracks, Litchfield.scan0014-scaled

Transcription;

COPY
List 2. Litchfield (T.F.3)
War Office, London, S.W.
24th May 1916.
Sir,
I am directed to inform you that 4335. Pte. J.H.Walker.
of the unit under your Command, has been selected to undergo a course
of instruction in an Officer Cadet Unit, with a view to his subsequent
appointment to a commission in the Territorial Force.
I am therefore to request that you will order him to report
himself to the Commandant No 8 Officers Cadet Battn, Whittington Barracks, Litchfield.
on the 29th May 1916 not later than 4 p.m.. He should be provided
with a railway warrant for the journey, and should be in possession
of a complete kit. xxxxxxxxxxxx
It must be distinctly understood that in the event of his
failure to pass the required tests on the termination of the course
or it in any other respect he is found to be unsuitable for appoint-
-ment to a commission, he will be returned to your unit for duty in
the ranks, or otherwise disposed of as directed by the Army Council.
An acknowledgment of the receipt of this letter is not
required, but if for any reason the candidate is unable to join, a
telegram should be sent to the War Office as early as practicable,
Followed by a letter stating the circumstances.
I am, Sir, Your obedient Servant,
(Sgd) W.D. Bird.
Director of Staff Duties.
The Officer Commanding
xx 14th (Res) Bn.London Regt.
(London Scottish)
Mortlake.

On (or about) the 25th September 1916, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Flying Corps. The London Gazette records this in a list published on 20th October 1916 (his name is about a third of the way down on the right-hand side).

One photo among WALKER family papers labels James Hope WALKER, standing on an airfield alongside 3 other (unidentified) servicemen.

James Hope WALKER was killed in a “Flying accident” on 16th March 1917, when the Bristol F.2a fighter biplane (number A3311), which he was flying, had a “loss of flying speed near ground”, at Rendcomb airfield (north of Cirencester, Gloucestershire). The “Casualty Card” from the accident is available from the RAF Museum Story Vault. It records the following;

“The court is of opinion that accident was caused by loss of flying speed owing to the fact that the pilot had switched off in order to effect a slower landing. The throttle being open seems to indicate that the pilot attempted to make use of his engine forgetting he had previously switched off.”

A group of photos among family papers, show an airfield; presumably RAF Rendcomb. Three images show Bristol F.2a fighter biplanes lined up; among them are numbers A3314 and A3329. Another 3 photos show servicemen standing around a crashed plane. This is presumably the crash which killed James Hope WALKER on 16th March 1917. But the images don’t show the plane’s number, so I can’t say for sure!

The following two cards were presumably sent to the WALKER family by the officers of the RFC at Rendcombe following his death.

James Hope WALKER is recorded on several monuments. These include the Hatfield War Memorial. Among family papers are two cards inviting his parents to the dedication of the Hatfield War Memorial on Sunday 12th June (1921) (see below). He is also recorded on a memorial at St Albans School, where he was a pupil (see the Great War Forum for details).

His gravestone, in St Luke’s Churchyard, Hatfield, also mentions one of his sisters, Beatrice Margaret. The FindAGrave website accurately connects this grave to a 1911 census record, and to the gravestones of other WALKER family members, buried at All Saints, Radwell, where there is also an inscription to him,  on the back of his parents gravestone (see; BillionGraves.com).

The portrait (below) of James Hope WALKER appears to have been painted after his death. It is signed ‘E. L. HAWES, 1919′, and “EVA L. HAWES, 24 WINDSOR RD, CHURCH END FINCHLEY” is written on the back. I have no other information about the artist. The portrait is in an envelope, addressed in pencil to James’ mother, “Mrs Walker, Radwell Bury, Baldock, Herts” (an address which his parents moved to in about 1935).

A history of the WALKER family

The following history was originally compiled and written by T.G.A. WALKER, circa 1957. The versions of this history that I’ve seen don’t contain any notes as to his sources for the information. And while some sources must be from old family papers (which I have seen, and which remain in the family), others remain a mystery.

This history was retyped, with minor edits and corrections, and with some additional information/details inserted in italics, by M. WALKER in 2004, with further additions/editing in response to further research at several subsequent dates. I endeavour to explain my edits to the text, and my sources, at the end.

foot-cA history of the WALKER family

By tradition, the Walker family came originally from the district around PERTH and at some date not known moved to a farm, now no longer in existence, called PUNCHEONLAW [or Punchinlaw] which lay north-east of the village of KIRKLISTON, on a back road towards Cramond, just west of Edinburgh.[i]

William Walker of Punchin Law moved to the farm of HIDDLEFAULDS [or Hiddlefolds] now in the parish of Broxburn, but historically in Kirkliston parish, in the year 1745, being a tenant of the Earl of HOPETOUN; he also farmed for a time at OVERTOUN of KIRKNEUTON, which he had taken over from his brother, David Walker, who had died, it seems, without issue.

William married Elizabeth BARRON (or BARON) of Corstorphine on 14th June 1728 and they had two daughters, twins, Isabell and Janet, born 23rd August 1729 and three sons, James born 5th August 1731, Thomas born about 20th October 1735, and William, born 27th January 1739,[ii] of whom James took over the farm on the death of his father in 1768. James married Janet Flint in May 1766 and they had a son, John, born on 13th Jan 1772 along with two daughters; Mary, born 23rd June 1767, and Elisabeth on 1st October 1769.[iii] John was “irregularly” married to Isabel Neil in May 1816.[iv] She was born in February 1788. John took over the farm on the death of his farther in 1817. James died 4th April 1817, aged 85, and Janet Flint died 12th Dec. 1817, aged 79.[v]

At about this date the family took over the lease of the adjoining farm of Kilpunt (or Kilpont), also on the Hopetoun Estate, making the two farms into one. In the course of time the farm buildings of Hiddlefaulds were used for other purposes, and a row of farm cottages were put up with the stones. [Records indicate that the Walker family was still living at Hiddlefaulds in 1842, but were living at Kilpunt by the time of the 1851 census.]

An anecdote of the times with it’s general lawlessness is the story of a Walker of about these times who had a horse stolen during the night and when daylight came, tracked the thief and came upon him in a wood some miles away. They fell to with their swords, and the thief was run through, and Walker came back with his horse.

There are more details of the family of John Walker than previous generations. He had two sons and four daughters;

  • Janet   .  . b. 19 Aug. 1816  .  married William HUNTER, baker, of Broxburn.
  • James .  . b. 24 Jan. 1818  .  married Margaret JOHNSTON in 1847.
  • John .  .  . b. 29 Oct 1820   .   d. 15 Nov. 1825
  • Isbel  .  .  . b. 26 Mar 1822
  • Mary  .  .  . b. 15 Dec 1824   .  [married John KERR]
  • Barbara  . b. 21 Feb 1827   .  [married David BARTHOLOMEW]

    kilpunt-composite1
    Photo of Kilpunt from the south (composite of two photos)
    taken on 28th June 2005

John Walker died in [Aug.] 1840 and James carried on the farm at Kilpunt. [Isbel MacNeil died in about 1860]. James married Margaret Johnston at Bathgate in 1847. She came of a family of much distinction, they owning the newspaper ‘The Falkirk Herald’ and who had brothers who were prominent Bankers in Glasgow.

The sister of James [i.e. Janet] who married Wm. Hunter of Broxburn had a son who went to Natal, [South] Africa as an engineer, who planned and built the railway there [was manager of the Natal Railway, abt. 1880’s.].

James was well known in Edinburgh, where he had a house, and did much entertaining, among his guests was a Mr Necker, an International Banker and important in his day, who came from Switzerland.

He [James] had family as follows;

  • John Johnston .  .   b. 21 Jan 1848        d. 19 Nov 1891 in N.Z.
  • Margaret Young (twin)                                d. 13 May 1891
  • James   .  .  (twin)  .  b. 19 Oct 1849        d.  4 May 1851
  • Isabella Neill .  .  .  .  b. 3 May 1851        m. Thomas ALLAN
  • Jemima Janet .  .  .  b. 30 Mar 1854
  • Mary .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  b. 9 Feb 1856         m. John BRASH
  • Thomas George   .  b. 4 Mar 1858        m. Helen Black CADZOW
  • Elizabeth Barron  .  b. 7 Oct 1860         d. 14 Oct 1882

John [Johnston] Walker went to New Zealand in 1869 and was manager of a large Sheep Station at Edendale until 1877, when he decided to start on his own, and took up a virgin block of land on the Otamakapua Block. In 1891 he went to Feilding to have treatment for a severe attack of fever and was treated by a Doctor Charlton without success, and died on 19th November 1891. On his retirement from the sheep station, where he was most popular, he was presented with a very handsome gold watch and chain.

On the death of James Walker in 1881 the farm at Kilpunt was carried on by Thomas George Walker, who married Helen Black Cadzow at Bangour [just north of Livingston, West Lothian], on the 19th June 1894.

Their family;

Born at Kilpunt         ( up until 1898)

  • Helen Cadzow WALKER  b. 31 May 1895           m. Jeremiah INNS
  • James Hope          “             b. 3 July 1896              d. 16 Mar 1917
  • Isobel MacNeil     “             b. 22 Feb 1898            m. Henry W. GEORGE

Born at Hyde Hall, Buntingford, Hertfordshire (1898 – 1904)

  • Beatrice Margaret             b. 3 Aug 1900              d. Feb. 1972
  • Mary Winifred                     b. 14 Feb 1903            d. 18 Apr 1996

Born at Symonds Hyde, Hatfield, Hertfordshire (1904 – .)

  • Ethel Marian                         b. 4 Nov 1905             m. Lyle STEWART
  • Thomas George Allan     b. 24 June 1908        m. Linnaea C. ELLIOTT
 Notes;

[i] T. G. A. Walker writes of “a farm called PUNCHIN LAW (spelling doubtful) which lay close to the farm of THREE-MILE-TOWN on the Linlithgow to Edinburgh road, about three miles from Linlithgow.” But viewing old maps of ‘Linlithgowshire’ (West Lothian) online at www.nls.uk/maps (at July 2005), two maps (dated 1818 and 1820) identify a farm of ‘Puncheon Law’ laying in the parish of Kirkliston, north-east of Kirkliston village (quite some distance east of Three-Mile-Town). No other locations of a similar name are evident on these maps.

[ii] These dates and the names of Elizabeth Barron and Isabell, Janet & William Walker, come from OPR 667/1; Kirkliston parish records on microfilm. Viewed 29th June 2005 at the Scottish Genealogy Society; Family History Library, 15 Victoria Terrace, Edinburgh.

[iii] Dates and the daughters’ names come from OPR 667/1; Kirkliston parish records on microfilm. (as note 2).

[iv]John Walker and Isabel Neil, both of this parish (Kirkliston) were irregularly married and had their marriage confirmed by the session.” Entry dated 25th May 1816 from OPR 667/1; Kirkliston parish records on microfilm. (as note 2). The fact that their 1st daughter, Janet, was born less than 3 months later is a hint at what was going on! Looking into the Kirk Session records might provide additional information of interest about this.

[v] Dates of death for James and Janet taken from a tombstone in Kirkliston kirkyard on 28th June 2005.

 Additional notes/comments;

IMG_7620-edSince first re-typing the above history, I have discovered the original family papers which must have been the source for much of the history – particularly the early parts. (I plan to post images and transcriptions of those documents onto this site in future). So the following notes have a lot to do with the extra details that I have so far gleaned from these documents.

I remain unclear about where the idea comes from, of the WALKER family “coming originally from the district around Perth“. I have yet to see any evidence for that!

My suspicion is that my WALKER family is connected to WALKERs who lived in the neighbouring parish of Corstorphine for at least 2 or 3 generations prior to the family that I have firm details for. A lot of work into WALKERs in Corstorphine has been done by Norman WALKER, from Australia, who traces his WALKER family back to Corstorphine in the early 1600s.

I have seen no evidence for William’s brother, “David“, who is supposed to have farmed at Overtoun of Kirknewton! But among the family papers, William’s disposition shows that he left the farm at Overtoun to “Thomas, my youngest son“. This suggests that William and Elizabeth’s third son (also called William, b.1739) had died at a young age – as he is not mentioned in his father’s disposition.

On-line I have seen someone making a connection between William Walker (b. 1739) and a marriage in 1774 between a William Walker and Catherine Muir. But based on the family documents that I’ve seen, particularly the disposition of William WALKER (Snr.), I see no evidence for such a link to be made. (If anyone can provide me with clear evidence of that link, I will happily revise my assumptions. This site is all about sharing evidence.).