New Zealand First World War Veteran’s Remains Recovered More Than 100 Years On

Henry John Innes Walker and the ruins of Ypres market square. Source: AWMM(left) / Wikipedia, Public Domain (right)

The remains of Henry John Innes Walker, a New Zealand soldier killed in World War I, have been recovered more than 100 years after his death.

While excavating in the area around the site of the Second Battle of Ypres – in West Flanders Langemark – workers recovered the remains and well-preserved possessions of Walker.

A gas attack on April 22, 1915, pre-empted the fighting in the area.

Walker was an Aucklander who joined the British Army and was promoted to captain with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment’s 1st Battalion. He was killed in action on April 25, 1915, after being shot in the stomach at approximately 3:30 am while his company was advancing to take a wooded area.

A soldier in the mud during the Second Battle of Passchendale
A soldier in the mud during the Second Battle of Passchendaele

Official UK documents state that his body was last seen lying in a large crater from a shell, approximately 45 meters from a German trench.

His friends believe that the Germans would have used the natural grave of the crater to bury Walker.

The remains were recovered as part of a TV series called, “In War Special: Among Flemish Fields.”

His remains were among those of 45 soldiers recovered on the show.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE