Robert Duff Walker

Military Information

  • Date of enlistment: August 1914
  • Place of enlistment: H.M.S. Unicorn, Dundee
  • Service no: Clyde 2/61
  • Rank: Chief Petty Officer
  • Service Occupation:
  • Awards: Mentioned in Dispatches
  • Regiment/Service: Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve
  • Unit/Ship: Hood Battalion R.N. Div
  • Place of Death: Turkey/Gallipoli
  • Age at Death: 26
  • Date of Death: 28.12.1915
  • Burial Country: Turkey/Gallipoli
  • Cemetery: Helles Memorial, Turkey
  • Grave/Mem Ref no: Panel 8 to 15

Personal Information

  • Date of Birth: 27.11.1889
  • Place of Birth: Dundee
  • Address: 13 Cardean St, Dundee
  • Occupation: Tenter, Lindsay & Low, Dundee
  • Mother:

    Mary Merley Buncombe Walker

  • Father:

    Albert Thomas Duff Walker

  • Siblings:

    William, Jane, Albert, Margaret & Donald

  • Spouse:

    Francis Ann Wilson, 13 Cardean St, Dundee

  • Children:

    Robert, born 02.07.1914

More about Robert Duff Walker

Robert has no known grave but is remembered on the Helles Memorial.

Robert Duff Walker   C2/61   Hood Bn   R.N.D.

WALKER—Killed in action at Gallipoli, on the 25th December, Robert Duff Walker, Battalion Sergeant-Major, Hood Battalion, Clyde, R.N.V.R., dearly beloved husband of Frances Ann Wilson, 13 Cardean Street, Dundee, and second youngest son of Albert T. D. Walker and the late Mary M. Buncombe Walker.  (North papers, also Canadian and Australian papers, please copy.)—Inserted by his widow.

Dundee People’s Journal 5th February 1916

Family Background.


Robert`s father, Albert, was a calendar worker and the family lived at 46 North Church Street, Dundee. His mother, Mary, predeceased him. On 3rd October 1913 Robert married Frances Ann Wilson and set up home at 13 Cardean Street, Dundee. On 2nd July 1914 their son, also Robert Duff Walker, was born.

Service History

Robert joined the RNVR in 1908,adding two years to his age. He went to Antwerp with the Hood Battalion in 1914 and then to Gallipoli. He was wounded in the head on 4th June 1915 at Krithia and then evacuated on the Ivernia to hospital in Malta.

On returning to service in July via Alexandria on the Esmeralda he was awarded the Certificate of Zeal & Devotion  to Duty on Active Service by General Paris, Commanding General of the Royal Naval Division. In September he was made Chief Petty Officer and mentioned in despatches. On 17th December he was promoted to Battalion Sergeant Major, the most senior of the non commissioned officers. He was killed on 28th December 1915, eleven days before the final evacuation from Gallipoli.

Robert D Walker was the husband of Mrs Ann Walker of 13 Cardean Street, Dundee and worked as a Tenter in the Dundee Mills. In 1908 he joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve onboard HMS Unicorn in Dundee. He was a Petty Officer when the Dundee Companies were mobilised in August 1914 and, after a short delay, the men who had not yet been drafted to seagoing ships were sent to form a Royal Naval Division of Sailors and Marines to fight ashore. Robert Walker was sent to the Hood Battalion forming up at Betteshanger Park near Deal in Kent. At the beginning of October the Hood Battalion was sent to Antwerp when the RND was tasked with assisting the Belgian Army defend Antwerp from German forces. When the RND was in danger of being outflanked the order to withdraw was given. Most of the Hood Battalion got away and returned to England via Ostende. The Battalion reformed and, after time in Portsmouth, it moved to Blandford Camp in Dorset. Here the men trained in Battalion, Brigade and Division movements and fighting. At the end of February 1915 the Hood was one of nine Naval and Marine battalions sent to the Eastern Mediterranean and landed in Mudros Harbour on the Greek island of Lemnos. Here the men trained for a role to support an Allied Naval attempt to force a passage through the Dardanelles to bring Constantinople, now Istanbul, under the guns of the British and French Navies causing Turkey to surrender. The attempt failed and troop landings took place in late April on the Gallipoli Peninsula to capture and destroy the Turkish defences in the Dardanelles. The Hood Battalion assaulted Turkish positions in the Second and Third Battles of Krithia in May and June and casualties were heavy. Robert Walker was hit on the head by a bullet in the June fighting and had to be evacuated to Malta onboard the Transport Ivernia for treatment and recovery. He returned to the Battalion in July via Alexandria in Egypt onboard the Transport Esmerelda. He was advanced to Chief Petty Officer in September and appointed as the Battalion Sergeant Major, the most senior Non Commissioned Officer, in December. During December, British and French land forces were planning to withdraw from the Peninsula and the Hood Battalion was detailed to form part of the rearguard and to give the Turks the impression that all was normal. It was during this period Robert D Walker was killed in action. His body was not recovered and he is commemorated on the Helles Memorial on Gallipoli, the HMS Unicorn Memorial and the Ogilvy Church. He was awarded a Certificate of Zeal and Devotion to Duty on Active Service by the Division’s Commanding Officer, General Archibald Paris, Royal Marines. He was also Mentioned in Despatches.

Additional information supplied by Gary Thomson and further additional information kindly supplied by Michael Caldwell, Hugh Mcrae, Ian Stewart & Ian Birnie

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