Thursday, 30 April 2015

Wilkinson, Norman - Lieutenant

(No soldier photo available)
9th Battallion,
Manchester Regiment,
Died 21st March 1918
Age 29

Commemorated Pozieres Memorial.

Newspaper Report:


In last week's "Guardian" we announced that Lieutenant Norman Wilkinson, eldest son of Mr. Fred Wilkinson, The Willows, Haslingden, was reported to have been killed on March 21st.  The report is now proved to be only too well founded. Lieutenant Wilkinson whilst a pupil at Newchurch Grammar School won an all England scholarship at Christ's Hospital, London and Horsham from which he took the medical course at Owen's College, Manchester, spending his vacations as an assistant with Dr. Atkinson, ex Mayor of Crewe.  In October 1914, following the outbreak of the war he joined the 29th Manchester Regiment, his training as a cadet officer at Horsham securing him his commission at once. He was brigaded at Southport and Whitley with the East Lancashire Regiment; served in France on the Flanders front, as captain and adjutant, being attached to the 1.8 battalion of the King's Liverpool Regiment u nder Colonel Heath, from which he returned suffering from trench fever.  On returning to the Manchester Regiment he took the bombing school cetificate and was then sent as Captain to the Norfolk Regiment on the east coast defence and stationed in The Dukeries.  In Julyh 1917, he rejoined the Manchester Regiment, the 2.9 being merged into the 1.9 battalion as lieutenant, serving on the Ypres section, He was home on leave in December, returning on the 19th December to the western front, being stationed at St. Quentin and acting as battalion transport officer.
The second in command (Major Heselton) in a letter to the father writes:- "Your son was killed by a shell and died instantaneously, which I hope may be a little consolation, as he died a glorious death, fighting hard to the very last.  I know what a sterling fellow he was and what a tremendous loss he is to the battalion". 
The Lieutenant Colonel also writes of Lieutenant Wilkinson:- "My late officer, Captain Wright, used to be in and out of the mess with him a great deal, serving as they both did on the equipment board.  Both are now dead.  But in sacred sleep as comrades they lie together, and we may not call them dead for brave men never die.  Thank God that England breeds such boys! Thank God for Eternal hope of seeing them again when the last bugle rings and we spring to attention once more side by side for the Great Review"
A memorial service will be held in the Manchester Road Church (in which Lieutenant Wilkinson was previously a member) on Sunday morning which will be conducted by the Rev. T. Ogden Taylor, Supt. minister.


Communications received by the father on Tuesday indicate that Lieutenant, Norman Wilkinson, eldest son of Mr. F. Wilkinso n (head teacher at Haslingden Council Schools) and Mrs. Wilkinson of the Willows, Haslingden, was killed instantaneously by a shell on March 21st, but there are in the communications certain slight discrepencies which Mr. Wilkinson did not expect to be able to clear up until the week end.  Lieut. Wilkinson was with the 9th Manchesters, who suffered so heavily but fought so bravely against the German hordes on the date named.  For two and a half years he was temporary captain with the Manchesters, partly in England and partly in France.  Then he became lieutenant, upon a reconstruction of the regiment being carried out and changing his battalion.  He was 29 years of age.  His two brothers, Howard and Vernon, are both serving, the latter in Bombay after being Mesopotamia.