Sir Harold Thomas Coulthard Walker was born on 18 March 1891, the son of Lt-General Sir HB Walker KCB, KCMG, DSO. He was educated St Christopher's, Bath and Royal Naval Colleges Osborne and Dartmouth
He entered the Royal Navy as a Midshipman in 1908. He was promoted to Sub Lieutenant in 1911 and Lieutenant in 1913. From 1914 to 1918, he served in the First World War aboard H.M.S. Bellerophon and H.M.S. Vindictive. He was wounded and lost one of his hands (he subsequently used a hook. This would interesting in that he was already referred to as "Hooky" (according to naval tradition, men with the surname "Walker" were generally given the nickname "Hooky"). As a result of his actions, he was Mentioned in Despatches twice.
Walker was promoted to Commander in 1926 and to captain in December 1931. Early that same year (1931) he was married to Olive Marjory Berners. Together, they would later have one son and one daughter.
Walker was the Commanding Officer of H.M.S. Canterbury in 1932. His next command was as Captain of H.M.A.S. Canberra from 1934 to 1936. Following this, he served as the Deputy Director Training and Staff Duties, Admiralty. He held this position until 1938, when he assumed command of the battle cruiser H.M.S. Hood.
Walker served as Flag Captain of Hood under Sir Andew Cunningham and later Sir Geoffrey Layton from May 1938 to January 1939. He was well liked and highly respected by the crew.
Upon leaving Hood, Walker became the Flag Captain of H.M.S. Barham and the 1st Battle Squadron. He served in this position until 1940. He was promoted to Commodore in 1940. He subsequently took command of H.M.S. Victory Royal Navy Barracks, Portsmouth. He held this position until mid 1940. He was promoted to Rear-Admiral on 08 July 1941.
One of his first tasks following his promotion was to serve as the President of the second Board of Enquiry into the loss of H.M.S. Hood. Following the completion of the board, he became the Director of Personal Services, Admiralty [H.M.S. President] . He served in this capacity from November 1941 to 1943. He received the C.B. in January 1944.
Walker served from H.M.S. London as the Rear-Admiral Commanding 5th Cruiser Squadron from May-June 1944. He was promoted to Vice-Admiral in December 1944 and then served aboard H.M.S. Queen Elizabeth as the Flag Officer Commanding 3rd Battle Squadron & Second-in-Command, East Indies Station from December 1944 to July 1945. He was later Mentioned in Despatches (September 1945) for his services.
Walker received the KCB in January 1946. He then served as the Vice-Admiral Commanding British Naval Forces in Germany & Chief British Naval Representative in the Allied Control Commission (from H.M.S. Royal Albert) from March 1946 to 1947. He retired directly after this and by September 1948, was a full Admiral on the Retired List.
Walker and wife Olive Marjory (nee Berners) were married in 1931 and had two children (one of which is former amabassador Sir Harold Walker KCMG).
Walker lived in Woking following retirement and died there on 25 December 1975.
Sources and References
Who Was Who
Navy Lists (courtesy of J.N. Houterman)