Here’s a happy outcome that I only discovered last night: the grave of Lieutenant Frederick Ramsey Walker, of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, was restored in 2017 by a mystery benefactor!
I spotted this grave in Dalry Cemetery, in 2010, and was surprised at how many battles Lieut. Ramsey had fought in. Ramsey was “thrice mentioned in dispatches” and was decorated with the Military Cross and the Legion d’honneur (France), awarded to Ramsey by General Joffre, personally.
Walker took part in the retreat from Mons, and the battles of Le Cateau, Marne, Aisne, Neuve Chapelle, Loos and the devastating destruction at Ypres and Somme. He was known as “a soldier’s soldier”.
Lieutenant Frederick Ramsey Walker was twice wounded in action, and he died suddenly at Dreghorn Camp, Colinton, Edinburgh, on the 7th January 1917, aged 34. 600 men from different battalions attended his graveside funeral, following the funeral cortège which was accompanied by pipe and brass bands. Shots were fired to mark his passing.
Looking through my archive last night, I came across my photo of his grave again and did some online research. I found newspaper articles (swipe through for pics) that reported retired civil servant and amateur historian, Edward Flint, sparked the initiative to restore Lieut. Walker’s grave.
In 2014, Flint spoke to members of Gorgie Memorial Hall in an attempt to inspire a clean-up of the grave at Dalry Cemetery. Volunteers returned to do a bit of caretaking, but when Flint later returned to visit Walker’s grave, he couldn’t find it at all. He was baffled. In fact, it wasn’t that the grave was missing, but the horizontal slab and broken pieces he had been expecting to see was actually…vertical. Walker’s grave was standing bright and proud, fully cleaned and repaired, with the remnants of a candle in a glass holder, and a lucky penny, which had been left as offerings.
Flint contacted the War Graves Commission to see if the restoration was their doing. It was not, and no one could offer any information as to who had paid for or completed the repair work.
To this day we must thank a mystery benefactor for restoring this war hero’s grave.