First World War stories from the Wakefield District

Francis Milthorpe Walker

Francis was born in December 1894. His family lived in Alverthorpe and had a printer’s engineering business in Wakefield. By 1914 Francis was a junior partner in the business, but in September 1914 he volunteered for the army.


He was posted to France and he fought at Ypres and at Cambrai. He was one of the few machine gunners to survive the battle of Cambrai. By 1918 he had become a lance corporal and had been slightly wounded twice. In March 1918 the Germans began a huge attack against the British. Francis was killed, age 24, and his body was never recovered.


Francis’s family placed a death notice in the local newspaper.


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, March 27th, 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.

(His mother had died before the war and Mabel was his girlfriend.)


Francis was also commemorated in St Paul’s Church, Alverthorpe. His name is on a memorial plaque at the East Window to those local men who died in the 1914 – 1918 war.

Google map: site of the Cambrai battlefields, northern France where Francis Walker was a machine gunner»

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