WALKER, James Alexander

  1. Service Details
  2. Personal Details
  3. Unit and Rank Details
  4. Fate
  5. Commemoration
  6. Notes
  7. Sources

Service Details

Branch of Service
Army
Conflict
World War II
Date of Enlistment
10/07/1940
Place of Enlistment
Paddington NSW

Personal Details

Gender
Male
Date of Birth
14/01/1912
Place of Birth
Braidwood NSW
Address (at enlistment)
c/- R. Stroud, Euree Street, Reid, Canberra ACT (Canberra NSW on DVA WW2 Nominal Roll)
Occupation
Bank officer
Next of Kin
Son of William Robert and Beatrice Rosalie Walker, of Randwick NSW.

Unit and Rank Details

Service Number
NX56794
Final Rank
Private
Final Unit
8 Divisional Supply Column Mechanical Transport, Australian Army Service Corps AIF

Fate

Died 1 July 1942 aged 30 years, at sea, South West Pacific area.

Commemoration

AWM Roll of Honour, Canberra ACT: Panel 88.
Rabaul Memorial, Papua New Guinea: Panel 31.

Notes

James Walker was working in a bank in Canberra when he enlisted in 1940, along with his brother-in-law, in Sydney. He belonged to the 8th Division Supply Column Mechanical Transport Section and was sent to Rabaul to provide support services to Lark Force. Lark Force included members of the 2/22 Battalion, 1 Independent Company, Fortress Artillery, Engineers, Signal Units, No. 17 Anti/Tank Battery, Anti/Aircraft Battery, No. 19 Special Dental Unit, detachments from the New Guinea Volunteer Rifles, 2/10 Field Ambulance, Ordnance Corps, 8 Division Supply Column, Canteen Services HQ NG area, Royal Australian Air Force and the Royal Australian Navy. On 23rd January 1942 Japanese forces invaded Rabaul, on the island of New Britain, and quickly defeated the much smaller Lark Force and Walker became a prisoner of war.

On 22nd June 1942, the Japanese ordered 852 Australian prisoners of war and 208 civilian internees at Rabaul to board the Montevideo Maru for transport to Hainan Island in the South China Sea. The ship was not marked as carrying prisoners. It was sighted by an American submarine, the USS Sturgeon, on 1 July 1942 off the coast of Luzon in the Philippines. Unaware that it was carrying POWs, the USS Sturgeon torpedoed the Montevideo Maru. In the single biggest maritime disaster in Australian history, all the prisoners on board, including Walker (and his brother-in-law), were killed. He has no known grave. Walker is commemorated on the Rabaul Memorial.

Sources

Australia. Department of Veterans' Affairs. World War 2 nominal roll. http://www.ww2roll.gov.au/
Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Debt of Honour Register. <http://www.cwgc.org/cwgcinternet/search/>
AWM Roll of Honour and Roll of Honour Circulars <http://www.awm.gov.au/database/roh.asp>
ACT Electoral Roll, 1941
Sydney Morning Herald - 25 October 1945
AWM Prisoners of War and Missing in the Far East and South West Pacific Islands

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Montevideo Maru Memorial at the Australian War Memorial.

Montevideo Maru Memorial at the Australian War Memorial.

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