William Raby Walker

Information about birth

Date of birth:
Place of birth:
Collingwood, Tasman, New Zealand

General information

Last known residence:
Triangle Valley, Pūponga, Tasman, New Zealand

Army information

New Zealand
New Zealand Expeditionary Force
Service number:
Enlistment date:
Enlistment place:
Trentham, Wellington, New Zealand
 —  Canterbury Regiment, 2nd Bn.  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
Place of death:
Cameron Covert, Zonnebeke, Belgium
Cause of death:
Died of wounds (D.O.W.)

Distinctions and medals 3

Points of interest 4

#1 Place of birth
#2 Last known residence
#3 Enlistment place
#4 ‘Place of death’

My story

William Raby Walker, a former famer, was born on 10 October 1917 in Collingwood, Tasman, New Zealand. He was the son of James and Helen Walker. William enlisted on 16 October 1915 in Trentham, Wellington, New Zealand. He served as a Serjeant in the 12th (Nelson) Company, 2nd Battalion Canterbury Regiment, part of 2nd New Zealand Brigade, of the New Zealand Division.

In December 1917, the Battle of Passchendaele had ended but the line was still occupied. On the night of December 15/16th, the 2nd Canterbury Battalion moved two companies out of support at Polygonveld to Cameron Covert where they relieved the front-line troops. Two other companies stayed in support near Polygonveld. On the night of December 18/19th, the companies switched their positions. Now the 12th (Nelson) Company held the front line until the night of 22/23 December 1917.

William Raby Walker, aged 31, died of wounds on December 20, 1917. Serjeant Walker has no known grave and is remembered on panel 3A of the Buttes New British Cemetery (N.Z.) Memorial, Polygon Wood. The posthumously received a Distinguished Conduct Medal on 26 March 1918. The statement reads the following: “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when in command of a platoon in an isolated trench when a party of the enemy about 50 strong attempted a raid. He showed great tactical ability in bringing a Lewis gun to bear on the threatened flank, covering it with a section of bombers, and caught the raiders with enfilade fire and decimated them. He had previously shown marked courage and devotion to duty.”

Sources 1

David Ferguson, The history of the Canterbury Regiment N.Z.E.F. : 1914-1919 (Auckland: Whitcombe and Tombs, 1921).
Sources used

More information 5