WILKINS, Frederick

Private Frederick Wilkins
12979 8th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment

Frederick Wilkins was born in 1892 at Old Westwood (Palmerston Street),  Notts son of John Joseph Wilkins and Anna Maria (nee Archer) who both originated from Northants.  His parents married at Banbury, Oxon  and lived for the first few years of their marriage at Upper Boddington Village, Northants where his father was employed as an agricultural labourer. In the early 1890s they left the village of their birth and moved to Old Westwood where his father took up work as a railway platelayer for the Midland Railway Company.   Frederick had brothers and sisters Sarah, William, Mary, Dick and Walter and by 1911 all the male occupants of the ‘Westwoodville’ household were gainfully employed, son William as a collier loader, Frederick as a labourer at the pipe works and youngest sons Dick and Walter as pit lads at the colliery.

Fred joined up very early in the war, attesting on 24th September 1914 at Nottingham aged 22 years and 8 months. He gave his occupation as ‘general labourer’ so was not in a preserved occupation and would have been one of the first called to the colours. His height was noted as 5’7″ and he had blue eyes, brown hair, a fresh complexion and a scar on his left shin. He gave his religion as Church of England. Fred did not serve for long as on 22nd February 1915, after 173 days service, he was discharged from Aldershot as ‘unlikely to become an efficient soldier. Recruit with more than three months service considered unfit for further military service.’  He was suffering with bursitis of the left foot, painful swellings caused by damage to the bones or joints.

Fred’s brothers Dick and William served during WW1 and are also named on the Jacksdale War Memorial. In 1917 Fred married Kate (Kitty) Cleaver and they had daughters Marjorie and Doris Lilian.  Fred’s parents John Joseph and Anna Maria are both buried at Westwood, St. Mary’s.