Tributes have continued to pour in for Eric Walker who died earlier this week aged 93.
Mr Walker was possibly the last surviving member of Force 135 the unit of soldiers who liberated Jersey in May 1945.
He later made Jersey his home and for 35 years was the Island’s bomb disposal officer.
Author and historian Mark Lamerton whose book “Liberated by Force 135” is considered the definitive work on the subject says Eric Walker had one of the toughest jobs going: “The war was over but he had to help clear more than 50,000 German mines. Just how dangerous a job it was, was underlined when one of his contemporaries Sapper Onions was blown up doing a similar job in Alderney.”
Reflecting on Mr Walker’s role in later life, Mr Lamerton says: “Eric’s enthusiasm and energy were amazing. Even when he was in his eighties, come May 9th – Liberation Day - he would climb on the back of a military vehicle dressed in his original army uniform with its special Liberation flash - and would tell everyone about how welcoming Islanders were when the soldiers came ashore… Later in life Eric would scoot around town in his electric wheelchair collecting funds for the British Legion in the run up to Poppy Day. He never forgot the needs of his fellow soldiers”.
Owner of the Channel Islands Military Museum at St Ouen, and Vice President of the Channel Islands Occupation Society, Damien Horn, knew Eric Walker well and says the Island owes him a great debt. “Mr Walker did a sterling job helping make the Island safe by disposing of thousand of potentially lethal mines… It was a job he continued to do for many years afterwards. His work possibly saved lots of lives."
Mr Walker was awarded a British Empire Medal by the Queen in recognition of his military service.
(Picture credit: Fenby Miskin)
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