William Wilkinson was born in Liverpool on 9th July 1891.
The 1901 Census on Ancestry.co.uk shows that the Wilkinson family were living at 10, Medlock Street, Kirkdale, West Derby, Lancashire. Head of the household William Wilkinson age 35, born on London Middlesex was a Plumber by trade. He and his wife Julia, age 38 and born in Ireland, had six children living at home. They were, Margaret, age 11 born 1890, William, age 9 born 1892, Reuben, age 7 born 1894, Albert, age 5 born 1896, Rosanna, age 3 born 1898 and John, age 1 born 1899. All the children were born in Liverpool.
Ten years on the 1911 census on Ancestry.co.uk shows that the family had moved to a new address, 211 Breck Road, West Derby, Liverpool and that some of the children had flown the nest. We learn that William, age 45 was in the same trade (Plumber) and his wife now calling herself Teresa age 47 had three children at home. William age 20 a Painter by trade, Rosanna age 14 and John age 12.
William Wilkinson age 43 Plumber and his son William Wilkinson age 20 Painter are shown on an Outgoing Passenger List on Ancestry.co.uk dated 27th May 1911, travelling from Liverpool to Quebec on the S.S. Megantic.
Julia Wilkinson age 47 and her children Rose age 14 and John age 11 are shown on an Outgoing Passenger List on Ancestry.co.uk dated 10th May 1912, travelling from Liverpool to Montreal on the S.S.Victorian.
Attestation Papers for Private 766311 William Wilkinson from the Library of Canada.
William enlisted into the 123rd Battalion of the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionery Force in Toronto on 20th November 1915. He gave his address as 96, Edwin Ave, Toronto and next of kin, Mrs Julia Wilkinson at the same address. He was of single status and a Decorator by trade He claimed to have served with the 9th M.H. Scottish Regiment for 5 months and the 10th R.G. for 6 months. William was described on his medical form as being 5ft 4ins tall with a fair complexion, blue eyes and fair hair. His religion was Roman Catholic.
After basic training in Canada, William embarked from Halifax, Canada for England on 8th August 1916 aboard the S.S Cameronia and arrived in Liverpool on 18th August 1916, when he was posted to Bramshott Army Camp to complete training.
William was transferred to the 19th Battalion and was deployed overseas on 10th October 1916 again being transferred to 6th Company Field Engineers on 6th November 1916. He remained in the field until 18th January 1917 when he was admitted to No. 22 General Hospital at Camiers with Asthma, thereafter being transferred back to Shoreham Army Camp in England on 28th January 1917 and then on to No. 2 Western General Hospital, Manchester on 29th January 1917 where he was diagnosed with Bronchitis. It would appear from William’s Service Papers that he spent most of 1917 in various hospitals and served in Army Camps in the U.K. in between bouts of illness. He had adenoids removed and suffered with pain in his ears and bad chest infections.
After hostilities ceased, William was transferred to Kinmel Army Camp, Rhyl on 3rd February 1919.
Kinmel Park Camp was a segregation camp used to house Canadian Soldiers awaiting repatriation to Canada after the end of WW1. Unfortunately the conditions at that time were extremely harsh with a lack of every kind of commodity, the camp was overcrowded and the services were poor, there were shortages of clothing, food and blankets. As a result of this situation, a vast number of servicemen and women became ill and many succumbed to the Influenza Epidemic or complications associated with this infection.
Sadly William contracted Influenza, and was admitted to the Canadian General Hospital where he died on 6th February 1919.
William’s Last Will and Testament was made on his death bed and states that he wants all his money and belongings to be made available to “the unmarried wife Mrs Osborne for the upkeep of my daughter Dorothy.” It was signed by William Wilkinson and witnessed by Dorothy Osborne and dated 9th August 1916. There is a further Will dated 29th April 1918 stating that “I William Wilkinson serving in C.S.M.C. Canadians C.E.F. Do hereby revoke all former wills made by me and declare this to be my last Will” Signed by William Wilkinson and dated 29th April 1918. This was attached to the first will and was in his pay book.
William’s medals, scroll and plaque were sent to his father, William Wilkinson of 81, Hounslow Heath Rd. Toronto.
William is buried in St. Margaret’s Cemetery, Bodelwyddan.
He is commemorated on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.
Sadly two of William’s brothers were also killed during WW1.
Private 413097, Reuben Wilkinson 26th Battalion (New Brunswick Regiment)
Reuben enlisted into the CEF on 18th March 1915, he was 21 years of age and was described on his medical form as being 5ft 5inches tall with a fair complexion, dark blue eyes and brown hair. After basic training in Canada he embarked for England aboard the S.S. Missanbie from Montreal on 17th June 1915 and on arrival in England went through further training before being deployed to France. Reuben was wounded on 17th June 1916 but recovered in the field. He also had a period of illness when he contracted Fallicular Tonsilitus and was again wounded on 9th April 1917 during the attack on Vimy Ridge and sadly died of wounds on 17th April 1917.
To read about the attack on Vimy Ridge on 9th April 1917, please follow the link.
To read about the 26th Battalion (New Brunswick Regiment) please follow the link
Reuben Wilkinson is buried in the Barlin Communal Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.
He is commemorated on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.
Gunner 341037 John Wilkinson 70th Battery Canadian Field Artillery (depot)
John enlisted into the 70th Battery on 18th August 1916 in Toronto, he gave his date of birth as 25th December 1897 and next of kin, Julia Wilkinson, Mother of 96, Edwin Ave. Toronto. John gave his trade as Painter and is described on his medical form as being 5ft 1ins tall with a medium complexion, brown eyes and brown hair. It would appear from John’s Service Papers that he deserted his duty on a number of occasions and was finaly discharged on 22nd January 1917 as being underage.
Private 2499683 John Wilkinson York and Simco Foresters, Canadian Expeditionery Force
John re enlisted into the Canadian Expeditionary Force on 19th December 1917, he gave his date of birth as 25th December 1896, he was actually born in 1899. He gave his father William Wilkinson as next of kin at the same address as on the previous Attestation Form. John completed basic training and embarked from Halifax on 5th February 1918, arriving in Liverpool on 16th February when he was posted to Purfleet Camp to await deployment to France. He left England for France on 30th March 1918 and joined his unit in the field on 4th April 1918.
John Wilkinson was killed in action on 29th August 1918.
He is buried in Tilloy British Cemetery, Tilloy-Les-Mofflaines grave ref 111 A 13
To read about the history of the Canadian Railway Troops, please follow the link.
John is commemorated on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.