mirror tank photo (2)
Val Walker liked escaping from tanks! Well, thats the way it seems sometimes. Perhaps he just felt that they made a good spectacle.
While he was serving on HMS Invincible he developed a means of escaping from what he describes as a 'Regulation 60 gallon Admiralty Tank'. Investigations appear to show that no such named item exists within the Navy, so I can only conclude that Val uses the description simply to indicate that this is a standard tank that previously existed aboard HMS Invincible rather than one of his own manufacture.
The escape is quite simple. Take one tank approximately 18 inches by 23 inches and 36 inches long, fill it with water, insert one Val A Walker, close the steel lid and secure from the outside with a padlock. Turn and face away from the tank being ready to whip it open in two minutes time so that Val doesn't drown! Only one problem, after just over a minute, there is Val, dripping wet, standing next to the still sealed and padlocked tank!
This is exactly how Val performed the escape, for none other than Commander R N Lane, The commander of HMS Invincible, plus the Captain of the ship, Seymour, in the CPO's bathroom.
Following this performance, Commander Lane organised a ships concert party for the ratings of the fleet with Val as the headline act! Again, the tank escape was performed, with just a screen placed around the tank.
It was later performed on the stage at the Portsmouth Hippodrome.
The entire British fleet was soon talking about Val, and the Daily Mail caught wind of the story and dispatched a reporter to see what it was all about. The result was 'The Wizard of the Navy'!
Listen to Val recounting this first performance in a recording made in 1968 here:



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  • mirror tank photo (2)

val walker 1918 small

Val A Walker 1918

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