No black-edged telegrams were delivered in Stoke Lacy in the first three years of the Great War. However, on 12 January 1917, Stoke Lacy’s good fortune ended with the death of Private Alban Walker.
Alban’s family had a military connection: his father, Charles, joined the army in 1866 and served for 14 years, 11 of them in India. After leaving the army Charles married Rose Morris, a native of Westhide. Alban, their seventh child, was born in Much Cowarne in 1896, and a few years later the family moved to Nethercourt Cottage, a few yards from this church.
In 1916 Alban Walker joined the 11th Battalion, Border Regiment and in January 1917 was posted to the Somme. A fellow soldier wrote of:
’... a wilderness of mud, flooded trenches, shell-hole posts, corpses and broken equipment… [we] found the physical and mental strain almost unbearable.’
The 11th Battalion war diary recorded that on the 12 January, ‘our front line [was] systematically bombarded.’ Alban Walker was killed along with 10 of his comrades; he was 21 years old.
He is buried in the Euston Road Cemetery, Colincamps, France; his mother is buried in Stoke Lacy churchyard.