James Walker R.N. Chief Officer of Coastguard – June 2006
James Walker was born near Bristol on 23 June 1863. He joined the Royal Navy a few days before his 16th birthday.
In 1882 James was involved in his first fighting when the British Navy helped quell an uprising in Egypt.
After the excitement of action he returned to the usual Naval routine until February 1883 when he was transferred to the Signals Branch. He saw action again in Egypt in 1884 and won a Good Conduct Badge.
Back in England in July 1885 he presumably took some welcome Foreign Service leave.
His next posting in December was on Fishery Protection duties in the Channel Islands. Here he got into trouble and lost the Good Conduct Badge in January 1887.
The award was reinstated in September and he was promoted again the following year.
In 1889 James joined HMS Griffon, a screw driven Gunboat, on anti-slavery duties off Zanzibar for a year returning to England in September 1890. He was awarded his second Good Conduct Badge.
In October 1890 he was drafted to H.M.S Neptune the Coast Guard ship at Holyhead in North Wales and he spent most of the rest of his career on Coast Guard duties at various locations around the British Isles.
On 13 September 1911 he was appointed to the Coast Guard station at Ryde, he was 48 years old.
During the war he was in the Examination Service and would have boarded merchant ships as they entered the Solent prior to docking at Southampton or Portsmouth.
He retired from the service in 1919 after forty years service. He was 56 years old.
On retirement he was granted the rank of Commissioned Officer. He continued to live in Ryde in Nelson Street until his sudden death from influenza on 30 December 1932.