Thomas Hamilton Walker and his brother John Walker both served in the Canadian Army during the First World War.
Thomas Hamilton Walker (left in the painting) was among the first Canadian civilians to enlist with the 1st Cdn Division in 1914. He served overseas for the full duration of the war, and fought at the Second Battle of Ypres, the Somme, Vimy Ridge, Hill 70, Passchendaele, Amiens, the Drocourt-Queant Line, the Canal du Nord and Cambrai. He was Mentioned in Dispatches in 1917 and awarded the DCM in 1918.
His brother John Walker played professional football in Scotland for 10 years before coming to Canada in 1910. He served with the Signal Corp of the Canadian Engineers, and the 1st Tramways Company in France during 1918.
Early Years in Scotland
Thomas and John were the sons of Thomas Hamilton Walker Sr. and Elizabeth Reid of Scotland. They lived their early lives in Lanarkshire county just west of Edinburgh, Scotland.
Their father Thomas Walker Sr. worked as a "pitheadman" at the Woodend Coal mines. A pay report from 1888 reported that he earned about 5 pounds per month. On this salary he supported a family of 12 children. He was also the deacon in the nearby Presbyterian church in Woodend, which he was associated with for over thirty years.
In the father's obituary, it was written that, "The strength and independence of his mind made him fearlessly impartial; he was ruled by a sense of duty, and had a very keen eye to the worth of things; he always aimed high in all he did, and was invariably successful in all his pursuits. He has left behind an honoured name, and a memory that will be cherished by all who had the privilege of his friendship."
This was a man who was well regarded by the community and who must have been an impressive and influential father to his family, and undoubtedly an inspiring mentor to his sons.
These two brothers, Thomas and John, were born fifteen years apart and were to ultimately lead very different lives in Scotland before they immigrated to Canada around 1910, first to Winnipeg, Manitoba and then to their farm near Pilot Mound after the war.