James Russell Walder

Service:  Royal Navy
Rank:   Boy Artificer Apprentice HMS Fisgard
Service No:  B.Art.M.15005
Date and place of birth:  22 May 1899 in Midhurst, Sussex
Date and place of death:  5 November 1918 in the Malling district

Family background

James Russell Walder was the son of James and Fanny Walder and was baptised on 9 July 1899 at Midhurst Parish Church. His father in 1901 was aged 25, a coachman living in Petersfield Road, Midhurst, Sussex and had been born in Midhurst. His mother, Fanny Louise, nee Russell, was then aged 26 and had been born in Petworth, Sussex. They had married in the early months of 1898. By 1911, the family of three had moved to Carfax Cottages, Ashfield Road, Midhurst, and father James was working as a chauffeur (domestic) and James Russell, now aged 11, was at school.

Midhurst Grammar School Pupil Admissions 1903-1916 records James Walder being admitted on 18 September 1911. He was granted a three year scholarship by the G Ognell Charity Trust. During his time at the school he passed his junior exams and left on 9 July 1915 to join the navy.

Military service

James Russell Walder joined the navy from school on 20 May 1917 for a twelve year term and was assigned to HMS Fisgard.  He was invalided out to RN Hospital Haslar on 28 September 1918 where he was diagnosed with TB. A war gratuity was issued.

He was awarded the British War medal.

Death and commemoration

He died on 5 November 1918 and his death was registered in the Malling district, Kent. His name is inscribed on the Midhurst War Memorial, on Memorial Panels in Midhurst Parish Church (but not as deceased) and on the Board at Midhurst Rother College. A headstone in Midhurst Cemetery is inscribed ‘In Loving Memory of James R Walder  Late Boy Artificer HMS Fisgard  Born May 22nd 1899, died Nov. 5th 1918’

Memorial headstone in Midhurst Cemetery
Memorial headstone in Midhurst Cemetery


Formed from the hulks of ‘Audacious’ and ‘Erebus’ moored in Fareham Creek, HMS Fisgard was commissioned at Portsmouth in February 1903 as the Boy Artificer Training Establishment. There were also training centres at Plymouth and Chatham.

Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project