Old Collegian and Great War soldier Captain HJI Walker to be buried in Belgium
Tuesday, 11 April 2018
In 2016, following excavations of a Western Front battlefield in Belgium, archaeologists discovered the remains of Old Collegian and World War One soldier Henry John(Jack) Innes Walker, 101 years after his death.
Jack, the son of Henry and Cecilia, of Glen Innes, Victoria Avenue, Remuera, attended King's College at its Remuera site from 1899-1909, becoming Head Boy in his final year. Jack was a brilliant sportsperson, excelling at rugby and athletics, and the cups he won for his efforts are on display in the College Archives.
After leaving school, Jack studied for the army entrance examination and was accepted into the New Zealand Army in 1910. New Zealand had the right to nominate two candidates for the British Army and in 1911 Jack was accepted into the British Army as a Second Lieutenant. As part of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, Jack travelled to India and then to England, continuing to win athletic championships and to impress at rugby, as reported in his NZ Herald obituary.
On 25 April 1915, at 3.30am, Jack was mortally wounded on the battlefield at Ypres. His body was thought to be in a trench and was unable to be recovered, until the field was excavated in August of 2016. Jack's remains were identified through bone samples, and the belongings found with him, among them a medallion, a whistle and a pair of binoculars.
This year, on 18 April 2018, Captain Henry John Innes Walker will be laid to rest at the CWGC New Irish Farm Cemetery in Belgium. His descendants will be present, as will King's College Headmaster Simon Lamb, who will lay an Old Collegian tie on Jack's grave.
Read more about HJI Walker's life: https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/lifestory/7186019
Details of the burial: https://www.cwgc.org/learn/news-and-events/events/2018/04/06/15/15/burial-service-for-capt-h-j-i-walker-and-6-unknown-soldiers-of-the-great-war
My Boy Jack - Rudyard Kipling
Kipling wrote this poem for his son Jack, also killed on the Western Front in 1915.