Commemorative Service for Soldier Whose Father Donated the War Memorial Hospital Land

Walker , Arthur JohnThe Henley Lest We Forget project are holding a service at 10.00am next Friday, 7 August 2015 at Holy Trinity Church to commemorate the 100th anniversay (to the day) on which Captain Arthur Walker 11th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment attached 6th Manchester Regiment was killed in action aged 19.  Everyone is most welcome to attend this short service.

Arthur was born in Reading in 1896, the son of John Cecil Walker, a bank manager, later of ‘The Mount’, Rotherfield Road, Henley and his wife Mary Annie Tombs Walker. He was educated at Wellingborough School, Northants from 1904 to 1914.  In 1914 Arthur was awarded the Wicks Scholarship to St John’s College, Oxford and he started there with the intention of entering the church.  In the Autumn of 1914 however he joined the 11th Service Vattalion Yorkshire Regiment as a 2nd Lieutenant.  Before Christmas he had risen to the rank of Captain (probably the youngest in the British Army) and in 1915 was selected for service in the Dardanelles, arriving in Gallipoli where he was attached to the 6th Battalion Manchester Regiment.  Arthur was killed in action on 7 August having served less than three weeks.  He was buried in Redoubt Cemetery, Helles, in Turkey.

Arthur’s father, John Cecil Walker donated the land on which Henley War Memorial Hospital was built after the war. During the war though Henley Town Hall was converted into a Red Cross Hospital with 24 beds fitted into the large hall.  The first men were brought from Oxford to Henley in October 1914 and the hospital stayed opened until January 1919.  Later that year the Mayor of Henley convened a public meeting to decide on a permanent war memorial and it was decided to build a hospital, which was opened on 3 June 1923.  With the coming of the NHS in 1948 it became part of Reading and District Hospital Management Committee. The hospital was closed in 1985 and subsequently the buildings were demolished and today there is retirement housing on the site.  Even back then the people of Henley were very passionate about their hospitals.

To find out more about the project go to www.henley-lestweforget.co.uk/index.html

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