Alexander Mann Walker

kings royal rifle corps badgeRifleman, C/12317, 21st (Service) Battalion (Yeoman Rifles), Kings Royal Rifle Corps, killed in action, 15th September 1916, aged 24

Born at Amcotts in December 1891, the elder brother of Edward and cousin of Ernest, Alexander was the second youngest son and one of the seven children of Thomas John and Emma Walker (nee Mann). His mother was from Amcotts and his father was from Crowle. The family lived at Cross Street in the village where his father was a bricklayer.

In 1911 Alexander was an apprentice bricklayer with his father, however when he attested for the army in November 1915 he gave his occupation as a farmer.

Alexander enlisted in the 21st Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps at Goole on 18th November 1915. Only a few days after their commanding officer, the Earl of Feversham had placed a letter in the Epworth Bells asking for more local recruits to join him. Better known as the Yeoman Rifles, the 21st KRRC, were formed in September 1915 from volunteers from the farming communities of Yorkshire, Northumberland and Durham and were the only ‘Pals’ Battalion to be formed from farmers. According to their records the men chosen to serve with the Yeoman Rifles were ‘of a very high standard physically educationally and socially, the battalion priding itself on having less crime than any other in the service’.

After his attestation Alexander reported the following day to Duncombe Park, Helmsley, the ancestral home of the Earl of Feversham and training base for the Yeoman Rifles. Here he was placed in D Company with the other Lincolnshire men.

A story, possibly not apocryphal, tells of the Earl asking his recruits to practice ‘open order advance’ against a herd of deer on the estate. The deer did not take kindly to this and prepared their own counter attack which routed the fledgling recruits!

Alexander went out to France with the Yeoman Rifles on 5th May 1916 where they served with 124th Brigade in 41st Division. Not long after their arrival, 23rd May 1916, he was admitted to 140th Field Ambulance for treatment of dental carries (toothache).

On 20th August 1916 with the Yeoman Rifles now stationed on the Somme, Alexander was attached to the 124th Brigade Trench Mortar Battery (TMB). During the Brigade’s attempt to capture the three trench lines to the east of Flers on 15th September, the 124th TMB provided support to the attacking troops and like all the units involved saw heavy casualties during the attack.

Alexander Walker was among those lost that day. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing.