The Airmen's Stories - F/O J A Walker
James Arthur Walker, of Gleichen, Alberta, Canada joined the RAF on a short service commission in March 1938. He was posted to 2 FTS, Brize Norton on 21st May and joined 111 Squadron at Northolt on 17th December. Patrolling over France on 18th May 1940, Walker destroyed a He111 and shared a Hs126, on the 31st destroyed a Me109 over Dunkirk, on 7th June a Me109 and on the 11th a Do17.
Walker claimed a Do17 destroyed on 13th August and a Me109 on the 16th. He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 6th September 1940). On 1st January 1941 he shared a probable Ju88 and on 17th March damaged another.
In May 1941 Walker was posted to 603 Squadron at Hornchurch and moved to 610 Squadron at Westhampnett in August as a Flight Commander. In April 1942 he was with 94 Squadron in the Western Desert and in 1943 with 31 (Transport) Squadron in India.
Walker was killed on 8th February 1944, when his Dakota FD775 was shot down by a Japanese fighter whilst he was on a supply dropping sortie over the Arakan. The action was witnessed by F/O Andrew Russel DFC (of Indian Head, Saskatchewan) who recorded ‘Squadron Leader Walker's instructions in what to do in case we were attacked were "dive for the ground in all directions". When Japanese Zero fighter aircraft attacked the squadron every pilot followed instructions except Walker, who stayed up there flying his Dakota in circles so the rest of us could escape, he should have got the VC for his sacrifice’.
He is remembered on the Singapore Memorial, Column 432 (below).
(Photograph courtesy of Jonathan Morford and Captain Robert L Koprowski, US Army (Veteran))