Walker, Edward St. Clair: Service no. 53071

Digitized Service Record

Source: Per Sgt. Frith’s service record.


London Advertiser. October 14, 1916. Page 2.

Popular 18th Non-Com. Declares Need Is For Men
Figure Wounded Allied Soldier Better For Their Cause Than Dead One.

Company Sergt.-Major Ed. Walker, 18th Battalion, one of the prominent London non-coms. who went overseas with Lieut.-Col. E.S. Wigle of the 18th, has returned to the city on sick furlough. He expects to return to the front in November. Dysentery sent the sergeant-major home.

On his return to London he saw for the 1st time a new arrival in his family in the shape of a 15-months-old girl, born since the 18th left for overseas service.

He was reticent as to his personal experiences in the big war, and as he has been invalided in England for nearly five months he could give little news relating to his comrades of the 18th Battalion. He stated what they were all well when he left them, although their number had been greatly reduced.

Men, More Men.

He emphasized the need for “men, more men, and yet more men,” before the war could be brought to a successful conclusion. He stated that the new recruits were much in demand and that although the experience of men who had been on the firing line for months was valuable, their health and constitution could not equal that of the new recruit. The recklessness of the new man, too, aided him greatly, as men who had been wounded and returned to the firing line were over-careful.

This accounted for the fact that casualties occurred chiefly among new men. They were not alive to the dangers of trench warfare and exposed themselves needlessly. The fighting he asserted, had produced many surprises from the standpoint of quality of certain men. Trained athletes had, in many cases, been the first to succumb to hardships where men who were considered weaklings at home were still fighting.

“The knocker in this game are a little different from those you get in other games, and it takes a different type of man to withstand them,” said the sergeant-major.


He explained the reason so many of the men now reported in the casualty lists had received wounds in the legs and lower parts of the body. The Germans were using high explosives to a greater extent than at the beginning of trench warfare. This had brought about more open fighting, and in almost every action German machine-gun fire had been directed low with the object of only wounding the charging men.

“It is of more advantage to the Germans to have a foe wounded than killed,” he said. “in the former case he has to be transported back to the base, receive treatment in the hospitals, utilizing altogether the services and time of nearly a dozen men, and in many cases remaining a source of expense to his country. If he is killed there remains only the cost of burial, and in many cases not that.”


Conscription, he said, was working out well in Great Britain, and nearly all the Canadian boys now in England were anxious to see it passed here.

“They’re close to the fight there and they realize what it means,” said Sergt.-Major Walker. “I wouldn’t want to see any part of the British Empire, much less Canada, in the same condition as the countries in which the fighting has taken place. I have seen whole towns absolutely destroyed. In many cases even the cellars are wiped out by the heavy gunfire.

“One of the latest drafts to our battalion a number of men from the 23rd Battalion. They were as fine men as we ever had and they have made a name for themselves ‘over there,’ although working under many disadvantages.”

Source: London Advertiser. October 14, 1916. Page 2.

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