Robert Bertie Walker

The 9th Battalion of the Rifle Brigade
Alfred H Wade

Born in Kirkby-on-the-Moor, Yorkshire, in 1890, the 1911 Census lists Robert Bertie Walker as living at Rose Cottage, Harden, with his parents Thomas and Annie Elizabeth, sisters Mary Hannah (aged 26), Harriet (aged 20) and Hetty (aged 17), and brothers Thomas Henry (aged 14) and Fred (aged 11). At this time Bertie was 21 years of age and a foundry labourer at Steel’s spring works in Harden.

Rifleman Robert Walker, S/11159 of the 9th Battalion of the Rifle Brigade was killed in action, aged 26, in Belgium on 25th September 1915 on the opening day of the Battle of Loos. The Battle of Loos was the largest British offensive mounted in 1915 on the Western Front during the First World War. Bertie’s family did not receive official notification of his death until September 1916.

He is commemorated at Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, France.

Medals: 1915 Star, British War Medal & British Victory Medal.


Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial

The Menin Gate is one of four memorials to the missing in Belgian Flanders which cover the area known as the Ypres

Salient.  The Salient was formed during the First Battle of Ypres in October and November 1914, when a small British Expeditionary Force succeeded in securing the town before the onset of winter, pushing the German forces back to the Passchendaele Ridge.  The Second Battle of Ypres began in April 1915 when the Germans released poison gas into the Allied lines north of Ypres.  This was the first time gas had been used by either side and the violence of the attack forced an Allied withdrawal and a shortening of the line of defence.  There was little more significant activity on this front until 1917, when in the Third Battle of Ypres an offensive was mounted to divert German attention from a weakened French front further south. The initial attempt in June to dislodge the Germans from the Messines Ridge was a complete success, but the main assault north-eastward, which began at the end of July, quickly became a dogged struggle against determined opposition and the rapidly deteriorating weather. The campaign finally came to a close in November with the capture of Passchendaele.  The German offensive of March 1918 met with some initial success, but was eventually checked and repulsed in a combined effort by the Allies in September.  The Memorial now bears the names of more than 54,000 officers and men whose graves are not known.

Read more about the cemetery on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s website.

Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

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Keighley News Listing

Robert (Bertie) Walker is reported in the Keighley News from 6th November 1915, under ‘Local News – Bingley News – Harden’ as missing.  He is then reported in the Keighley News from 9th September 1916, under ‘Local News – Bingley News – Bingley District’  as being killed.

With thanks to NewsQuest Media Group and the Keighley News.

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