William Delano WALKER

Badge Number: S6063

WALKER, William Delano

Service Number: 20581
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: Army Medical Corps (AIF)
Born: Port Pirie , South Australia , date not yet discovered
Home Town: Port Elliot, Alexandrina, South Australia
Schooling: St Peter's College and University of Adelaide, South Australia
Occupation: Medical Student
Died: Air crash, Catterick Flying Camp England, 16 August 1938, age not yet discovered
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
Memorials: Adelaide High School Honour Board, Adelaide University of Adelaide WW1 Honour Roll, Hackney St Peter's College Honour Board
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World War 1 Service

6 Aug 1918: Involvement Private, SN 20581, Army Medical Corps (AIF)
6 Aug 1918: Embarked Private, SN 20581, Army Medical Corps (AIF), SS Gaika, Adelaide
11 Nov 1918: Involvement Private, SN 20581

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Biography contributed by Annette Summers

WALKER William Delano

MB BS BSc(Hons)

















William Delano Walker was born in Port Pirie, SA, on 30th October 1897, the son of Dr William John Walker and Mary, nee Delano. His father was a well-known figure in Port Pirie and died of ‘consumption’ in 1903 when Walker was five years old. Two years later, in 1905, his mother drowned at Port Pirie when he was seven years old. He was brought up by his aunt Elizabeth Mary Thow. He was educated at the Victor Harbor High School and St Peter’s College. He studied medicine at the University of Adelaide obtaining a BSc(Hons) in 1923 and graduated with MB BS in 1925.


Prior to enlistment in the AIF, Walker served for four years in the senior cadets and then the AAMC of the Citizen Military Force. He was a third year medical student when he enlisted on 3rd July 1918 at the Mitcham Camp as a private in the AAMC. He was described as single, 5ft 6ins tall weighed 149lbs, of medium complexion, with brown eyes and dark hair. His aunt, of Port Elliot, was named as his next of kin. He made a statutory declaration that both his parents were dead. He embarked on the Gaika on 6th August 1918 and disembarked in London on 13th October 1918 and marched in to AAMC Training Depot. He was admitted to hospital with influenza on 23rd October 1918 and with measles on 5th December 1918. He was charged with being absent without leave from 11th to 22nd January 1919 and admonished and lost 11 days’ pay. He was granted leave from 8th August 1919 to 31st October 1919, on full pay, to go to Scotland to further his medical training. He embarked on Ypiranga on 15th November 1919 for return to Australia disembarking in 4 MD on 1st January 1920. He was discharged on 25th January 1920. He was issued with the British War Medal.  


Walker applied for a Rhodes scholarship in 1923 and cited medical training provided to him in Glasgow and Edinburgh by Lieutenant Colonel T R Marsden DSO. It would appear he was not successful in his application. He married Mary (Mollie) Vera Alexander, a teacher, on 11th May1927 at the St Peters’ College Chapel.  His life following graduating in medicine is well documented. He and his wife travelled widely in Australia and abroad, motoring 8500 miles in a model T Ford. They took many photographs and recorded their experiences in diaries from 1915 to 1938. The subject matter included the condition of Aborigines, nature and commented on life and society of both the middle and upper classes. He gave lectures in the United Kingdom with his own lantern slides. These diaries are now held in the South Australian Museum. He was awarded the Medal of the Royal Photographic Society in September 1931 for a series of photos illustrating the life cycle of the kangaroo. He also provided locum medical services in outback Australia.  Walker and his wife were both musicians, often critiquing performances of others. He became a medical officer in the Royal Air Force and gained his licence to fly in 1936. William Delano Walker was killed in a Royal Air Force plane crash on 16th August 1938 at Catterick Flying Camp, Yorkshire, England. Following his death, his wife had to file an affidavit for his will which was mailed to London in November 1938 but the Empire Flying Boat Calpurnia crashed in the Middle East killing the pilot and the crew and all the post was lost. Mollie Walker served as an executive of the South Australian Country Women’s Association for many years and chaired the University of Adelaide Adult Education Committee.  She was awarded an OBE and died in the Adelaide Home for Incurables on 22 June 1975 following an extended illness.


Blood, Sweat and Fears: Medical Practitioners and Medical Students of South Australia, who Served in World War 1. 

Verco, Summers, Swain, Jelly. Open Books Howden, Adelaide 2014. 

Uploaded by Annette Summers AO RFD