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John Henry Wilkinson

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John Henry Wilkinson
Wilkinson John.jpg
Wilkinson John 1.jpg
Personal Information
Date of Birth 17 Jan 1892
Place of Birth Wilcannia, New South Wales
Death 13 Nov 1960, aged 68
Place of Death Belmont, Western Australia
Age at Enlistment 24 years, 2 months
Description 5'9" (1.75m) tall ; 125lbs
56.699 kg
; fair complexion ; hazel eyes ; brown hair
Occupation Horse driver
Religion Church of England
Address 11 Brisbane terrace, Perth, Western Australia
Next of Kin Wife , Mrs Helen Isabella Wilkinson
Military Information
Reg Number 717
Date of Enlistment 15 Mar 1916
Rank Private
Unit/Formation 44th Battalion, D Company, transferred to the 51st Battalion
Date of Embarkation 6 Jun 1916 ‒ 21 Jul 1916
Ship Embarked On HMAT A29 Suevic
Date of Return 4 Jun 1919 ‒ 16 Jul 1919
Ship Returned On SS Bremen
Monument Gosnells Primary School Honour Roll
Medals British War Medal
Victory Medal



Pre War

In early 1913 John married Helen Isabella Blackburn at the residence of George Harris, Albany Rd, GOSNELLS, Perth, Western Australia. Son Leslie born on 30 Nov 1914 (1914-1943)in Greenbushes, daughter Violet Frances Wilkinson(1915–1982) was born 2 Mar 1915 in Gosnells. A second son John Walter George Wilkinson (1916–1997) was born in Perth on 18 Sep 1916 while John was overseas.

Helen died on 11 Dec 1973 in Inglewood, aged 85.

War Service

John entered Blackboy Hill camp on 15 Mar 1916 and on 4 Apr 1916 he was allocated to the 13th reinforcement draft for the 28th Battalion. However, three weeks later he was transferred to the 1st draft for the 44th Battalion, and on 1 Jun 1916 became a member of D Company of the 44th Battalion and travelled with it to England.

In England on 8 Aug 1916 following completion of his training he was notionally allocated to the 51st Battalion, but following his arrival in France on 2 Nov 1916 aboard SS Princess Henriette he spent time in the 4th Division's Base Details and then the 3rd Division Cyclist Corps. Despite these moves, on 17 Nov 1916 he was taken on strength by the 51st Battalion. On 26 Nov 1916 he was seen by the 5th Australian Field Ambulance who admitted him to the 6th General Hospital in Rouen with an abscess to his gums, rejoining the battalion on 7 Jan 1917 after several weeks in the 2nd Convalescent Depot at Rouen. On 23 Feb 1917 he was again admitted to hospital sick, this time with the mumps. He rejoined the battalion on 23 Feb 1917.

On 2 Apr 1917 the 51st Battalion was involved in an attack on the village of Noreuil, an outpost of the German Hindenburg Line behind which they were reorganising. One of more than 600 in this action alone. D Company was on the left of the battalion's advance and moved forward at 5:15a.m. behind an artillery barrage. Early casualties fell to flanking machine gun fire as the battalion of the Gordon Highlanders to their left was not advancing. John's injury was a slight bullet wound to the head, so it is likely that this was when he became a casualty given the others were largely caused by German artillery. he was seen by the 4th Australian Field Ambulance who passed him on to the 9th Casualty Clearing Station the same day. Two days later he was transferred to the 8th Stationary Hospital in Wimereux, and on 6 Apr 1917 to the 1st Convalescent Depot in Boulogne. A month later he was fit enough to rejoin the 51st Battalion on 24 May 1917 in time to participate in the attack on Messines Ridge on 7 Jun 1917.

John was granted leave in England from 18 to 29 Sep 1917 and thus missed out on the attack on Westhoek Ridge, rejoining the battalion at Halifax Camp. He remained with the battalion until 4 Oct 1918 when he again was granted leave in England, rejoining the battalion which on 22 Oct 1918 was at Guignicourt west of Amiens training and preparing to reenter the front lines. On 11 Nov 1918 they travelled by train to Roisel on their way back, and it was not until 3pm on 12 Nov 1918 that the battalion obtained 'unofficial' news that the war was over.

Following confirmation of the Armistice, the battalion moved to Fresnoy-le-Grand. On 20 Nov 1918 they were advised that they would move towards the German frontier as part of the occupying force. By late November they had crossed the border into Belgium and paused for several weeks at a village called Sivry. On 13 Dec 1918 they were on the move again reaching Falaen on 16 Dec 1918, and settled in the small village of Bouvignes on the River Meuse where they remained until 9 Mar 1919. On that day they began a move to Le Roux, where on 19 Mar 1919 the 50th and 51st Battalions amalgamated. Soon after on 5 Apr 1919 it was John's turn to begin the journey back to Australia via England, with a short stop in the 39th General Hospital in Le Havre. On 11 Apr 1919 he returned to Sutton Veny in England where he remained until he boarded the SS Bremen on 4 Jun 1919.

Discharged by the 5th Military District on 30 Aug 1919.

Post War

On his return John returned to the south west where their third son Harold Edzil Wilkinson (1919–1987) was born on 12 May 1919 at Nannup; followed by a second daughter Oria Wilkinson(1922–1928); and a fourth son Arthur Murray Wilkinson(1926–2003) on 29 Sep 1926 in Nannup.

Electoral Roll entries: 1919 a horse driver living at 11 Brisbane terrace, Perth; 1925 - 1936 a farmer at Cundinup near Collie; 1937 - 1940 a forestry worker living in Greenbushes; during WW2 John enlisted while living in Greenbushes on 20 Sep 1940 and served as a Corporal with Regimental Number W29094, before being discharged on 23 Aug 1946. Info on his unit is not available. 1954 retired at 34 Loton avenue, Midland Junction; 1958 with wife, son Gregory and daughter in law ? Myrtle at 9 Gregory street, Belmont.

Leslie their eldest son served during WW2 with the 2/16th Battalion and died on 3 Jan 1943 at Concord Hospital in Sydney.

Notes

Stepbrother of the two Harris brothers named on the Gosnells Primary School Honour Roll. Believed to have attended the Gosnells Primary School with them and is included on the school's Roll of Honour.


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