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Sergeant Walker


Harrogate Herald  - 3rd March 1915

W H Breare letter

At noon on Monday I had an interesting visit from 985 Sergeant Walker, C Company, 1st Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment, British Expeditionary Force. He is the son of Mrs Frederick Walker, of Victoria Avenue. He had been in hospital of blood from bad water, and was but two days out of hospital. I don't know how many hospitals he hasn't been in. his war history is somewhat remarkable. In ordinary times he is a lecturer on English literature in Universities of various nationalities. He was in Paris when the war broke out. He went to London, and was enlisted in the 1st West Yorks. He was glad to be amongst the Yorkshiremen. He got to Whitley Bay, thence to the Front, where he remained about four months, two and a half of which were spent in the trenches. He cannot speak too highly of the Yorkshiremen, for two of them saved his life at the risk of their own. 

Being a lecturer on British literature, he has wonderful descriptive powers, but he told me that no tongue could do justice to those Yorkshiremen out at the Front. What is more, he declares that people at home could never imagine what they have gone through and the splendid way they have done so. There are things that are indescribable, and what these men are doing is one of them. Talk about Victoria Crosses and other distinctions, to his mind statues in gold could not do it. Sergeant Walker was speaking of the men under him and the Yorkshiremen he came across. From what he said I gathered as much could be said for our other boys at the Front. He expects to go back in about two weeks, and if Harrogate folk are desirous of sending anything particular to their friends and relatives he will make good delivery. Sergeant Walker told me that you boys appreciate the Harrogate Herald. In fact, he says there is such a demand for it that it is divided into four parts to save time. Perhaps one man will be a mile, another a mile and a half away, and it is not always easy to get the paper round. They have adopted this method to make it go further. 

Now, you boys need not have all that trouble if you will but send the names and addresses of those who would like them. Mayers told me Oddy and Robinson would like papers, and I have put them on the list, and they will receive them weekly. You are quite welcome to them, and I'd thank you to let me know who would like one, but be sure and give me the full addresses. With regard to Sergeant Walker's health, he was looking washed out, and if his recovery is not quite complete it may be that he will be given the job of an interpreter. He speaks both French and German.

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