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Thread: Lt. (A) Gordon Morrison WALKER, d. November 26th 1943

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    Default Lt. (A) Gordon Morrison WALKER, d. November 26th 1943

    Hello everyone

    I'd like a little help with this Naval airman, if anyone can assist. He was killed in Mosquito HK407 of 96 Sqn, while attached to the R.A.F. His death was announced in the Sunderland Echo, December 1st 1943:

    ROLL OF HONOUR
    WALKER - On active service, in November, aged 25 years, Lieut. (A) Gordon Morrison Walker, D.S.O., D.S.C. and Bar, R.N., beloved son of Marion and the late Thomas M. Walker, of 7, Whitby Avenue, South Bents. Interment at Whitburn Cemetery on Friday. Service in Whitburn Parish Church at 2.20 p.m.


    So, a couple or so questions. The CWGC entry lists his aged as 20, but I have a copy of his Royal Aero Club Aviator's Certificate which confirms his date of birth as February 2nd 1918, born at Carlisle. The Graves Registration Report Form also confirms his age as 25. That all seems straightforward - I've advised the CWGC of the age error, so we'll see if they bite...

    However, there is no mention of his gallantry awards on his CWGC website entry, nor on his headstone, which is unusual. I've tried in vain to find his awards on the London Gazette. The D.S.O was reported in September 1943 in the Hull Daily Mail (9th) and the Sunderland Echo (8th), both of which mention that he already holds the D.S.C. and Bar. Once again, I've asked the CWGC about the awards.

    The Echo article includes the following:

    A pilot with KLM - the Dutch air line - before the war, he has been flying with the Fleet Air Arm since 1939, and with 20 confirmed victories to his credit he is one of the top-scoring fighter pilots of today. He is at present leader of a Mosquito squadron attached to the R.A.F., but earned his previous decorations flying from aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean and on the Russian convoy route.
    His latest award comes as recognition of a fine piece of reconnaissance work over the North Sea. In the first flight in a Mosquito he got back with valuable information in a badly damaged plane after beating off numerous fighter attacks. On the folowing day he repeated the reconnaissance, using a Fulmar, but this time his plane was so badly shot up by flak over the target that he and his observer had to "ditch" 200 miles out to sea.


    The article reports that they were eventually rescued by a Catalina after having been adrift for three days. I can't find the Fulmar in Sturtivant's F.A.A. Aircraft 1939-1945 book (I do have a scanned and OCR'd copy, so can search, although it's sometimes a bit hit and miss!).

    There was another article in the Sunderland Echo from October 1942 in which he relates a story to some local A.T.C. cadets, recalling how he was shot down while on convoy escort duty before being picked up by a destroyer. Again, I can't find any loss in Sturtivant again. The same article also records that he previously had been a Blenheim pilot with the R.A.F. in the Norwegian campaign before transferring the Fleet Air Arm. No sign of him in Air 78.

    So, can anyone add any details to my pilot - the dates of his D.S.C. and Bar and D.S.O. awards, plus any details of his victories and the Fulmar and ditched plane? I'm struggling to find anything much!

    Many thanks

    Regards

    Simon

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    A quick update. I've received a reply from the CWGC, and they're amending the error about his age on the website entry, which was due to a transcription error some stage in the past.

    With regards to his awards, interestingly they were originally recorded in the CWGC doumentation, but an investigation in 1954 found no evidence of any awards to Lieut. Walker. So where did the Hull Daily Mail and the Sunderland Echo get their story about the D.S.O. award from?

    I've come across a few 'phantom' D.F.C. awards on more recent obituaries in newspapers, but none that were reported at the time, especially with the details included in the newspaper articles.

    Regards

    Simon

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    There is an accident report at NA (not downloadable) - I do not know if that would contain any details of any medals awarded to G M Walker.

    Reference: ADM 358/1944
    Description:
    Acting Lieutenant Commander P N Humphreys, RN and Temporary Lieutenant (A) G M Walker, RNVR: report of death in an aircraft accident

    Date: 1943 Jan 01 - 1943 Dec 31
    Held by: The National Archives, Kew
    Former reference in its original department: CW(C) 663/43

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    I think the Echo must have got their story a little mixed up with somebody else,I have just looked at the Navy 'Top Scorers' and even 'Dickie' Cork is 'only' credited with circa 10 victories.
    I have not seen any reference to gallantry awards to GM Walker but his observer/nav had been awarded the EGM/GC prewar.

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    Yes, it's an odd one. There are no awards recorded in ADM104, but Act. Lt. Comm. Humphreys is next on the list, and his G.C is recorded, the details of which are on his CWGC entry.

    Walker's D.S.O. was reported in the Echo, the Hull Daily Mail and also the Yorkshire Post in September 1943. Add that to his death announcement with the medals mentioned and it's all very strange indeed.

    Regards

    Simon

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