|1895 India General Service Medal
No. 4890 Pte. Henry James Walker
1st Battalion, the Queen's (Royal West Surrey) Regiment
possible the 1854 medal could simply become rather awkward to wear since the medal’s ribbon would out of necessity have to be rather long to accommodate all the clasps some
recipients where entitled too. (See the cabinet photo of Sir William Lockhart as an example of this. http://www.soldiersofthequeen.com/page13l-SirWilliamLockhart.html).
This example of the 1895 issue of the India General Service Medal was presented to No. 4890 Private Henry James Walker of the 1st Battalion, the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey)
Regiment and reflects his service on India’s North West Frontier in the closing years of the 19th Century.
Henry James Walker was born around 1877 at Lambeth, Surrey to Henry Walker, a smith/hammerman, and Maria Sarah Maides. His first experience with military life came when
he attested with the 3rd Battalion (militia) of the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment on 21 August, 1895. He was 17 years, 9 month old at the time and a hammerman like his
father. His stay with the 3rd Battalion was short since he attested with the regulars at the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regimental Depot on 3 October, 1895
He was posted to the 1st Battalion on 7 January, 1896 and then transferred to the 2nd Battalion on 13 October, 1897 as part of a replacement draft being sent out to India where the
battalion had been posted since 1884. His time within his battalion was unremarkable. He was granted good conduct pay on 9 September 1900 and had the forfeited it on 23 June,
1902 for unspecified reasons. It was resorted to him one year later on 23 June, 1903.
He left India and returned home with the 1st Battalion in July 1903 and transferred to the reserves on 9 December, 1903. His final discharge from the reserves was on February 10,
While on the frontier Walker along with the rest of the 1st Battalion was first posted at Malakand Pass in the face of a rebellion of so 20,000 Afridi tribesmen. The battalion then
fortified the Nawagai Valley along with the 11th Bengal Lancers. A determined enemy assault was repulsed on 20 September.
The 1st Battalion was the transferred to the Tirah Field Force under the above mentioned General Sir William Lockhart and would serve as part of General William Penn-Symons
2nd Infantry Brigade, 1st Division. During the campaign the 1st Battalion would suffer relatively light casualties with ten dead and thirty wounded.
For his service Private Walker was entitled to the “Punjab Frontier 1897-98” and “Tirah 1897-98” clasps for his 1895 India General Service Medal. Both entitlements are
confirmed in his service papers and the appropriate medal roll.
I have not been able to find any definite references to Walker after his final discharge. He does not appear to have seen additional service during World War One. One genealogy
seems to indicate that Walker may have died sometime around December 1918.