Walker, Jerome Lennie
14th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles (Young Citizen Volunteers)
Killed in action on Saturday 6 May 1916 (aged 27)
Authuile Military Cemetery, France (Grave D. 58)
Jerome Lennie Walker was born on 22 July 1888 at 13 Audley Place, Cork and he was a son of Franklin Manderson Walker and Helen Walker (nee Lennie) who had at least three children including:
Jerome Lennie (born 22 July 1888 at 13 Audley Place, Cork)
Franklin Manderson (born 24 August 1889 in Landsdowne Terrace, Cork)
When the Walker family lived in Cork Franklin Manderson Walker was a flax merchant.
Jerome Lennie Walker attended Campbell College from 1903 to 1905 and, after leaving school, he worked with his father in the cloth business in Belgium. Franklin Manderson Walker was a Director in the company Reilly & Walker Flax Merchants in Courtrai and the Walker family lived at 31 Boulevard Vandenpeereboom, Courtrai.
The death of Jerome Lennie Walker was reported in the 13 May 1916 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle under the headline Helen’s Bay Lieutenant Killed and the report carried details of Jerome’s experiences:
When war broke out the Walker family escaped from Belgium and they came to live at Wynard, Helen’s Bay. Jerome stayed on in Belgium where he joined the Red Cross Society and used his motorcar on Society work until the Germans took possession of Courtrai. He travelled to see British troops entering the Belgian town of Roulers and was unable to return to Courtrai because the Germans had blown up the railway.
He travelled on to Ypres and stayed there during the first bombardments. Then ‘he helped to remove the inmates of the lunatic asylum, about 3,000 in number, to Paris, during which he had terrible experiences, the effect of the bombardment on the afflicted being pitiable’.
He travelled from France to England and then to Ireland where he was reunited with his family. On 31 December 1914 he received a commission in the Young Citizen Volunteers and, being a fluent linguist, his skills were put to good use when he served in France.
Second Lieutenant Jerome Lennie Walker was 27 when he was killed in action on 6 May 1916 during the German bombardment of the Allied front line and it was reported in the press that he was the first officer of the YCVs to fall in action.
The name and address on his Medal Index Card was Miss G.I. McDonald, 7 Ashville, Skegoniel Avenue, Belfast. In the 1911 census she is named as Isobel Gladys McDonald (aged 20), daughter of James and Phoebe McDonald; James McDonald (aged 60) was a retired secretary.
Second Lieutenant Jerome Lennie Walker was buried in Authuile Military Cemetery, France and there is the inscription on his CWGC headstone:
HE WAS A GOOD AND LOVING SON
A GOOD SOLDIER OF THE KING
AND GAVE HIS LIFE FOR HIS COUNTRY
In CWGC records his parents’ address is Mount Royal, Whitehead, Co Antrim.
Lennie’s father, Franklin, died on 17 October 1924.