There has been much discussion around the village and on local social media about the white soldier keeping watch with his fellow soldiers around the pond. The soldier in question was called Walter Thorley and a full explanation, of what happened to Walter Thorley, is shown on the wooden walkway along side the pond.
Briefly, what appears to have happened is no more than a case of genuine confusion. In January 1916, his aunt, Mrs Finch of Beverley, reported to the Beverley Guardian that Walter had been wounded in action. Then later that year the Beverley Guardian published a commemorative service for private HN Duggleby; in the article it also referred to Walter Thorley, and four other soldiers from Walkington who had already given their lives for their country. And that’s how Walter’s name came to be included on the Walkington War Memorial.
As far as we know he never returned to Walkington, although we do know he married Gertrude Whitaker in 1938, and in 1939 was living in the home, where he died aged 72 in 1969.
Although the original memorial, for Walter Thorley, was painted black, like the other silhouettes, it has now been painted white to show that despite his wounds he survived the wars. The page below, referring to Walter Thorley, is taken from Christine and Steve’s excellent book called Walkington Remembers. The book is now on permanent display in All Hallows Church. A blog post referring to the presentation of Walkington Remembers to All Hallows Church, was posted on 20th October 2019.
Editor’s Note: Thanks to Christine Elston and Steve Dowler