Private 19475 John Thomas Wilkinson

Killed in Action on Saturday, 1st July 1916, age unknown.
Commemorated on Pier and Face 7 B of Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.

1st Bn., South Staffordshire Regiment. 91st Brigade of 7th Division.

Husband of Annie Wilkinson.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Tipton, Resident: Unknown.

First landed France & Flanders, 8th December 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library, and St. John's memorials.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/821783/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
Court 2 House 2, Old Cross Street, Tipton, Staffs.
Thomas Wilkinson (51, Labourer - Cinder Cracker, born Tipton), his wife Mary Jane (51, born Tipton), and their 5 children: George (18, Labourer - Pig iron Furnace, born Tipton), Joseph (16, Labourer - Iron Foundry, born Tipton), John (14, born Tipton), Elizabeth (11, born Tipton), and Sarah (7, born Tipton).

John Wilkinson married Annie Barnes on 25th September 1910 at St John's Church, Tipton. At the time of his marriage, John Wilkinson was living at 157 Bloomfield Road, Tipton.
John and Annie had 2 sons: Alfred whose birth was registered March 1912, and John Samuel whose birth was registered June 1914, mother nee Barnes.

John and Annie's second son served as Pte 5334362 John Samuel Wilkinson, 1st Royal Berkshires during WW2. He died of wounds in Northumbria on 8th June 1940, age 26, and is buried in Tipton Cemetery. It is possible that his wounds were received at Dunkirk in May 1940. The full story is in the Tipton Herald of 15th June 1940. It reports him being the son of John and Annie Wilkinson, of Tipton, and husband of Florence May Wilkinson, of Tipton. His father had been killed in action in WW1, leaving 2 sons.

1911 Census
Cannot trace John Wilkinson.

Personal Data

None Available.

Action resulting in his death

The 1st South Staffs, as part of 7th Division, attacked the village of Mametz. This was well to the south of the Somme battlefield where the attack achieved many of the objectives. The initial attack at 7.30am captured most of Mametz, but was forced to a halt by mid-morning by German resistance. By early afternoon, the attack was carried forward again with a German garrison of around 200 surrendering. By 7.30pm, all the Staffords objectives had been achieved.

The 1st South Staffs had 4 officers and 82 men killed on the day, with more dying of wounds of subsequent days. Of these 82 men, 5 were from Tipton: James Butcher, Luke Gwilliams, Dan Turner, George Wheatley and John Wilkinson. James Butcher and George Wheatley are buried in Dantzig Alley Cemetery, the other three have no known grave and are commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme. Another man, John Akins, was wounded in action and died on 2nd July.

War Diary for 1st South Staffs
1st July 1916: MAMETZ
7.30 am:
Attack launched. The attack was pushed forward very successfully and with very few casualties until the whole Battalion was in MAMETZ, where a large number of Germans were encountered. At 9.08 am a message was received from O.C. 'D' company stating the Battalion was held-up on South side of MAMETZ and required reinforcements, the enemy being in strong numbers in the village. A Company of the 21st Manchester Regiment was sent to our support and at 11.20 am we received a message stating that we had advanced to the North East corner of the village and were consolidating. We also held BRIGHT ALLEY with a small force.
The position of Companies was:- 'C' Company on the Right, making a strong point, 'D' Company in DANZIG ALLEY making a strong point with two Stokes Guns. 'B' Company on the Left Front.
2.00 pm:
Battalion had gained and was consolidating the whole of its objective with the exception of BUNNY ALLEY.
3.10 pm:
Battalion had to withdraw in line with the church as FRITZ TRENCH had not been captured.
5.30 pm:
Battalion Headquarters moved up into MAMETZ and on reaching the village found that the Battalion's final objective had not been captured. Major Morris, with great skill, at once reorganised all the troops in the village and allotted each a task. The final objectives were taken and held at about 7.40 pm.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald 12th August 1916
The following Tipton men are reported killed:
J. Butcher (Tipton) South Staffs
J.T. Wilkinson (Tipton) South Staffs.