Walker, James (Jimmie)

  • Township: East Nissouri
  • Rank: Able Seaman
  • Branch: Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve
  • Regiment number: V17999
  • Date of birth: February 12, 1924
  • Where born: St. Marys
  • Date of death: August 21, 1944
  • Wars Served: World War II
  • Commemorated: Halifax Memorial, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • Years of service: March 3, 1942 - August 21, 1944
  • Country enlisted with: Canada

Biography

James was the son of Agnes and James Walker of Lakeside. After leaving school he worked for a short time for  Maxwell and then Coronation Dairy in St. Marys. In his spare time, he paraded with the 2nd (Reserve) Battalion of the Perth Regiment.

He enrolled in the Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve on March 3, 1942 on a part time basis and was placed on active service April 8, 1942. He did his basic training at HMCS Prevost, the naval armoury in London then was then sent to HMCS Cornwallis in Nova Scotia from June 7, to July 21, 1942 for gunnery training. Returning to HMCS Prevost in July, he was drafted to HMCS Cornwallis on September 22 and HMCS Alberni at Halifax on October 6, 1942. HMCS Alberni was a Flower class corvette commissioned February 4, 1941. It displaced 950 tons with a top speed of 16 knots and carried a crew of only 6 officers and 79 ratings. Armament consisted on one 4" gun, an elderly 2 pounder gun and 2 Oerlikons. As a gunner, Able Seaman Walker's action station would have been with one of these guns. Very much a utilitarian vessel, the corvette was used extensively for convoy duties.

He served in the Mediterranean and then to England. On August  21,1944 his corvette was in the English Channel escorting cross-channel shipping to and from the invasion ports in France when she was torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U480 on August 24. There were heavy losses and Walker was one of those killed in the sinking. His body was not recovered. He has no known grave but is commemorated on the Halifax Memorial.

He was survived by his parents, a brother, Archie of Mitchell Road and four sisters, Ina Russell, Nettie Cousins and Mary Gourlay of St. Marys and Lottie of Mitchell. -- Courtesy of St. Marys Journal Argus.

 

In the last letter sent by James Walker to his friends (part shown in photo) he goes on to say that he hasn’t stepped on ground for over a month and the boys should consider themselves lucky that they can work on mother earth. Jim says, “I don’t get enough fresh fruits and vegetables but I shouldn’t complain as this is the life I chose rather than farming but I see my mistake now. I’ve run into a few Canadian soldiers and they are all wanting to get back home.”

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