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Born: 1894, Bradford
Address: 2 Mount Pleasant, Eccleshill
Parents: Fred & Annie, nee Gott
Siblings: Arthur, Laurence
Occupation: jobber in worsted spinning room
Organisations/clubs: Eccleshill CC; Idle FC
Rank: Pte
Medals/awards: Military Medal
Rolls of Honour:
Regiment: Machine Gun Corps
Harry Wilkinson
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Harry was the second son of Fred and Annie Wilkinson and at the time of the 1911 census he was described as a jobber in a worsted spinning room. On 12 May 1916 the Shipley Times & Express reported: ‘Pte Harry Wilkinson of 2 Mount Avenue, who enlisted in the 20th West Yorks, has passed to be musketry instructor while stationed at Clipston Camp. ‘On firing on the range, he made five bulls with his competitive shots at 800 yards range. Up to the present this is the record for the regiment.’ With a short while he was in France at one of the key battles of the war on the Somme and on 4 August the newspaper reported: ‘Pte Harry Wilkinson, 2 Mount Avenue, Eccleshill, has been gassed He enlisted in the 20th West Yorks and proved to be the crack shot of the regiment. ‘He was selected to be a sniper but was afterwards transferred to the company of the Machine Gun
Corps where he quickly distinguished himself in the handling of the guns. He is now fighting the Germans. ‘Before joining the army he was an enthusiastic footballer and played with the Idle Old Boys. The army team of which he is a member won the medals while stationed at Grantham. He was employed at Tunwell Mills, Eccleshill.’ A year later, on 24 August 1917, we read: ‘Mrs Wilkinson of 2 Mount Avenue, Eccleshill, has received a letter from her son, Pte Harry Wilkinson, who is attached the machine gun section in France. ‘In the letter he modestly says: “I daresay you will be pleased to hear that I have received the Military Medal, being presented with it by the General commanding our army
corps. You see though I have got a lot of medals for sport at home, I have now got a medal for this greatest game of all.” ‘Pte Wilkinson has been very successful in the army for, while in training with the 2nd Bradford Pals, he secured the highest aggregate score in the regiment with the rifle. ‘He was then tried with the machine gun and did so exceptionally well with the new weapon that he was transferred to the Machine Gun Corps. ‘With this corps he sailed to France 15 months ago and though he has been offered promotion he has so far refused to accept it. ‘Before receiving this signal mark of honour he had been previously complimented by his officer for
coolness under fire and accurate shooting. ‘The medals he refers to in his letter were won for both cricket and football, having seven to his credit. Before enlisting he was a playing member of the Eccleshill Cricket Club and Idle FC. He also secured a regimental medal for football whilst in training at Grantham. ‘He joined the army two years ago last Whitsuntide, leaving his employment at Smith & Hutton’s, Tunwell Mills. He was a respected member of Eccleshill Baptist Sunday School and is 23 years of age. ‘His younger brother, Lawrence, is orderly to the chaplain attached to the West Yorks and his elder brother, Arthur, is learning signalling at Crystal Palace. ‘This is the second medal of its kind that has been granted to Eccleshill soldiers, the other recipient being Pte Frank Dickinson of Norman Terrace.’
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