Damaged dismounted service pattern mess tin, Lone Pine, Gallipoli : Private E deW T Walker, 1 Battalion, AIF

Unit 1st Australian Infantry Battalion
Place Middle East: Ottoman Empire, Turkey, Dardanelles, Gallipoli, Anzac Area (Gallipoli), Lone Pine Area, Lone Pine
Accession Number RELAWM07799.004
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Steel
Maker Simpson & Son Ltd
Place made Australia: South Australia, Adelaide
Date made 1914
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Rusted, dismounted service pattern kidney shaped mess tin without lid. A partially legible oval maker's stamp is on the front, that reads '[S]IMPSON & SON LTD 1914 [illegible] AIDE' with the letter 'H' and a broad arrow symbol stamped above. There are two large dents in the bottom front with a hole, and a larger hole in the side. The wire handle is present. The base of the tin is scratched 'E WALKER / E WalKer', in a combination of print and cursive script.

History / Summary

This mess tin is associated with 1832 (sometimes recorded as 1706) Private Eric deWitte Talmage Walker, who was killed in action between 6 - 9 August 1915 at Lone Pine, Gallipoli.

Walker was a 20 year old labourer when he enlisted in the AIF on 12 January 1915. As he was under 21 he obtained permission from both his mother and father to enlist. Walker had previously served six months with cadets and six months with the 19th Infantry Battalion (militia). He embarked from Sydney with the 4th reinforcements of the 1st Battalion on 10 April 1915, aboard HMAT Argyllshire. He was allocated to the Battalion's B company, and landed at Gallipoli on 26 May.

Walker was killed some time between 6 and 9 August 1915, during the attack on the Turkish trenches at Lone Pine, or the subsequent Turkish counter attack. His body was not recovered at the time, but when the unburied remains of the men killed at Lone Pine were interred in the Lone Pine Cemetery after the war, his remains were believed to be among them. As his exact grave location was unknown a memorial headstone was placed in Lone Pine cemetery to commemorate him.

This mess tin was found with other items scattered around the position at Lone Pine on 8 January 1919 by Lieutenant William Hopkin James, who led a small party from the Australian War Records Section, taking photographs and collecting items for the national collection.

Although the mess tin lay out in the elements for almost four years, Walker's details are still legible, scratched into the base of the tin. An interesting feature is the way Walker inscribed his name. It is similar to his signature on his enlistment papers, which show that he used a distinctively large capital letter 'K' in Walker, exactly as it appears on the tin.