7. The Fallen

"The Fallen" - Remembered

John Richard Wilkinson was born on 07 Nov 1885 in Dunnington as the first child of Joseph Nicholls Wilkinson and his wife Mary Ann (Allen) who had married in 1882. John was baptised on 07 Feb 1886.  

The family was living at Common End in Dunnington in 1891. By 1911, still single, John was working for farmer John Hick at Wilberfoss.  

He enlisted in York early in WW1, and became 22293 Private J.R. Wilkinson in the 2nd Battalion of the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.  

John disembarked in France on 27 Jul 1915 when his unit joined the British Expeditionary Force. His service in France qualified him for the 1915 Star. While in France, he was promoted to Lance Corporal.  

The Battle of the Ancre 13-18 Nov 1916 was the last of those battles of the Somme which had begun on 1 July 1916 and which had entailed huge numbers of casualties dead, missing, or wounded. A massive British artillery bombardment preceded the main attack, which took place in worsening wintry conditions of rain, sleet, mist, and snow, through already deep mud. Although considered a tactical victory, the British units suffered more than 23,000 casualties.  

John was named as Missing on the War Office Casualty List of 4 Jan 1917. Later he was officially presumed to have died ‘on or since 18 Nov 1916’ – his battalion was involved in the Battle of the Ancre, and he seems to have been killed in action at that time.  

The name of Lance Corporal J R Wilkinson is inscribed on the Thiepval Memorial in Somme, Picardie, France, among so many others for whom there is also no known grave. John is also named on the WW1 Memorial in St Nicholas Church, Dunnington, and on the Roll of Honour in the village Reading Room.

John’s mother Mary Ann died in 1922, and his father Joseph in 1932. His sister Florence married Albert Birinus White and lived till 1976. Their daughter Harriet, who married Albert Gant, died in 1985 in Haxby.  

Father Val Hollands (faithirV@googlemail.com / 01904 489 283)


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