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  • Writer's pictureMr Dixon

HERITAGE: Year 8 Winner

Kathleen in Year 8 wins for the fascinating history of her great-great grandfather, Herbert Walker. Kathleen said: I researched for the Heritage theme because it was fascinating to learn more about my family history. I did not even know this about my family and had a lot of fun learning about it.

Herbert Walker

Herbert Walker was my great-great grandfather on dad’s side of the family. Unfortunately, l never met him. My Canadian uncle, who has provided this information, only knew him when he was nine and therefore was a little young to be asking about the Rebellion. Instead, they mainly talked about fly fishing!

Herbert Walker was born in Oxford, England, in 1865 and was the eldest in a family of 10. He completed 6 months at Queen’s College, Oxford, and went to New Brunswick, Canada, with his father in 1883. He worked for a year in St John, New Brunswick, as a clerk and the next year joined the navy.

He was shipped to Halifax and joined the 66th Princess Louise Fusillieres to combat the rebels in the west in 1885. The North-West Rebellion (also knows as the Riel Rebellion) was an uprising by the Métis people, commanded by Louis Riel, against the Canadian government. The Métis felt Canada was not protecting their rights, their land or their survival…

Some 900 Canadians (of whom Mr Walker was one of the youngest at age 19) fought in the Rebellion. Louis Riel was captured and convicted of treason. This led to him being hanged. In total, Mr Walker spent 33 years in the Royal Canadian Navy and was the chief steward aboard the first RCN cruiser, The Canada. During his years in the navy, he helped with fishery protection, lighthouse work and coastal services.

After demobilisation in 1918, he had many business undertakings in Halifax. For example, he was a manager of a large coal yard. He entered Veteran’s Lancaster Hospital in St John, NB, and from there had his 86th birthday. He died shortly thereafter in 1951 aged 86.

To this day, my Nanna still has the sword he used to fight in the Rebellion. This sword is the photo below.

Mr Walker was awarded the North-West Canada Medal for his bravery in the North-West Rebellion.

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