Wilkinson MM, John Henry (Harry)

Sgt, Harry Wilkinson, MM, 10th EYR

BORN SUTTON 02/01/1893. SON OF JOHN WILLIAM WILKINSON & JESSIE SHEPPARD, AT 180 DURHAM STREET (1901 CENSUS) AND THE FARM, WESTCOTT STREET, HULL. HIS FATHER WAS A MARKET GARDENER, AT ASHENDENE, SUTTON, INGS, HULL. ONE OF THREE SONS TO DIE IN THE WAR. HE WAS A HULL SCHOOL TEACHER. EDUCATED AT HULL TRAINING COLLEGE, WHERE HIS LOVE OF SPORT, MADE HIM VERY POPULAR.

HE ENLISTED IN THE 10TH ‘HULL COMMERCIALS’, ON THE 19/09/1914. PROMOTED TO SERGEANT. SERVED IN FRANCE, FROM 23/10/1915. HE WAS AWARDED THE MILITARY MEDAL, AT SERRE, ON 13/11/1916, FOR STORMING A TRENCH, AND TAKING SEVERAL PRISONERS AND A GUN. WOUNDED AT OPPY WOOD ON 03/05/1917. HE DIED OF HIS WOUNDS, AT NO: 7 CANADIAN HOSPITAL, ON 02/06/1917, AGED 24. HE IS BURIED AT ETAPLES. HIS DEATH WAS REPORTED IN THE HULL DAILY MAIL, ON 08/06/1917. *

HIS COMMANDING OFFICER WROTE, ” HE WAS MOST MAGNIFICENT ON THE 3RD MAY AND I HAVE NEVER KNOWN ANYONE SO DEVOID OF FEAR. HE DIED AS MAGNIFICENTLY AS HE HAD LIVED; WAS ABSOLUTELY SPLENDID, AS COOL AND FEARLESS, AS THOUGH HE HAD BEEN ON PARADE. HE WAS A GREAT SPORTSMAN.” UNMARRIED. HE LEFT THREE BROTHERS WHO ALSO SERVED IN FRANCE. TWO OF THESE WERE KILLED.

PRIVATE, ARTHUR FREDERICK WILKINSON, 44TH CANADIANS, KILLED AT PASSCHENDAELE, ON 27/10/1917, AGED 22, AND DRIVER, WILLIAM SHEPPARD WILKINSON, KILLED IN ACTION, ON 19/09/1917, AGED 19. THEIR DETAILS ARE ALL RECORDED IN THE DE RUVIGNY ROLL OF HONOUR, VOLUME 4. THEIR NAMES ARE ALSO RECORDED ON THE SUTTON VILLAGE WAR MEMORIAL.

The attack on Oppy Wood, part of the Battle of Arras, was a significant battle for the East Yorkshire Regiment and particularly for the city of Hull.  All four Hull Pals battalions were involved on 3 May and all suffered heavy casualties, with 40% of those present killed or injured. 2nd Lieutenant Jack Harrison, a local teacher and rugby player with Hull FC, won a posthumous Victoria Cross for his bravery in rushing a machine gun position to protect his platoon. His body was never found.
The village of Oppy in France had been in German hands since October 1914 and was part of a formidable defensive system including trenches, dug-outs and thick barbed wire defences. During the Battle of Arras, which began in April 1917, the British tried to take Oppy. The first attack was a failure. A second attack was partially successful. The third attack on 3 May, known officially as the Third Battle of the Scarpe, was again unsuccessful with significant loss of life. The troops were ordered to attack at 3.45am, rather than at dawn, and the defending Germans could easily see the line of British soldiers clearly lit by the full moon. The British continued to attack Oppy and were finally successful the following year. The City of Hull Memorial at Oppy was unveiled in 1927 and commemorates the men of the Hull Pals who were killed on 3 and 4 May 1917.

First name:
JOHN HENRY
Military Number:
10/1038
Rank:
Sergeant
Date Died
02/06/1917
Place died:
Etaples Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France
Age:
24
THE FARM, WESTCOTT STREET, HULL, EAST YORKSHIRE, UK