DIVISIONAL UNIT: 3rd Canadian Infantry Division
9th Infantry Brigade
58th Battalion - Central Ontario
Canadian Infantry Corps
SERVICE NO: 654306
RESIDENCE: Exeter – Ontario
DATE OF BIRTH: June 15, 1897
Nettlehaum - Lincolnshire - England
DATE OF DEATH: August 27, 1918 21 years 2 months
CEMETERY: Vis-en-Artois British Cemetery – Vis-en-Artois –
Pas de Calais – France
V G 10
PARENTS: Mr. William and Mary Jane Wilkinson – Kippen – Ontario
Occupation: Farmer Religion: Church of England
Enlistment: Exeter – January 20, 1916 – 161st Huron Battalion
Enlistment Age: 18 years 6 months
The 161st Battalion departed Canada bound for overseas and they arrived in England on November 11, 1916. At the end of November he transferred to the 58th Battalion based at Dibgate Camp – Kent. On December 1, 1916 he landed in France and on March 5, 1917 he joined the 58th Battalion in the field.
Lance Corporal Wilkinson lost his life at Bois-du-Bart. Originally, he had been reported as missing but his body was later discovered.
The objective of the advance was Bois du Sart with artillery and tank support. Zero hour was 04:50 hours.
“A” Company had the lead and their objective was the capture of all enemy defences west of Bois du Sart as the location of the enemy was not known exactly. “D” Company was to push forward from the left with “C” Company being on the right with the objective being to clear out the wood. “B” Company was acting as support.
The task was to be difficult as the Battalion had left Orange Hill at 02:15 hours, marched 4 miles in the dark and over unknown ground to take over territory they had never before seen.
There was very heavy fighting in the wood but by 06:50 hours both “D” & “C” Companies had pushed completely through with a small company of men penetrating Hatchet Wood.
At 07:00 hours the Hatchet Wood patrols were driven from the wood as the enemy forced their way into Bois du Sart but by 07:30 hours the woods were again in the hands of the Battalion.
“D” Company had suffered very heavily with much enemy machine-gun fire coming from Pelves. During the fighting of this day the enemy had heavily gassed the wood.
One Company of the 49th Battalion relieved part of “A” company and protected the left flank.
Our research tells us it was this fight where Lance Corporal Wilkinson paid the supreme sacrifice.