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Great War historians in appeal for family of prisoner of war to come forward

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: April 21, 2014

Couple researching the names on a war memorial, Tutbury....Jane and Rick Nuth..

Couple researching the names on a war memorial, Tutbury....Jane and Rick Nuth..

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MILITARY historians have appealed for relatives of a Great War soldier – who was held for three years as a prisoner – to come forward.

Rick and Jane Nuth (pictured) researched Tutbury soldier Private William Harry Walker for their second edition of the Tutbury Book of Remembrance.

The book is a follow up to the first edition, published in 2012, and will contain an extra 40 soldiers from the village who died in the First World War.

Jane Nuth, of Hillcrest, Tutbury, told the Mail the couple now hoped to be pass their findings on to his family.

She said: “We would like to trace any relatives of one of ‘our’ men.”

Harry, as William was known, and his twin sister Sarah Jane were born on January 3, 1878, in Walsall to William and Esther Ann Walker.

His father worked as a police sergeant, and lived in Brewood, in Staffordshire, before the family settled in Tutbury.

Harry emigrated to Canada sometime between 1902 and 1911.

Then, despite being over the age limit, he enlisted to fight in the 16th Scottish Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force in September 1914, a month after war was declared.

He named his mother, in Bridge Street, Tutbury, as his next of kin.

In December 1914 Harry was hospitalised with bronchitis before his unit arrived in Flanders two months later.

But his time on the Western Front was short lived.

In May, he was captured and held in a prisoner of war camp until the war ended more than three years later.

Harry was then repatriated in December 1918 and returned to Canada the following July to work for a dynamite company in James Island.

He died in Winnipeg General Hospital, Manitoba, on June 28, 1923.

Mrs Nuth said: “What happened to his sisters Frances Maude, born 1879, Olive Beatrice, born 1886, Anne Elizabeth Radford, born 1888, and Ethel Maggie born 1890?

“Did they marry? Do they have family still living locally?”

She added that Harry’s brother, John, also fought in the war with the Sherwood Foresters and Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.

Anyone with information on Harry should call Mrs Nuth on 01283 810166.

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