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Remembered Today:

Dvr. Frank WILKINSON (74217) RFA 'D' Bty., 75th. Bde.


stephen p nunn
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Evening all. Those who have seen the thread started by me in the 'Cemeteries and Memorials' Forum will know how special I feel Canada Farm CWGC Cemetery is. I know they all are, but there is something about Canada Farm that has touched me in a big way over the years.

Anyway, for ages I have been desperately searching for a medal/medals connected with the casualties that are buried there. I have failed big time, but my incredible daughter did it and for my birthday/Christmas she not only bought me a postcard of the place, but also a medal!. To say I was moved is an understatement.

The medal is to the following man:

Frank WILKINSON.

He was a Driver (74217) with the Royal Field Artillery ('D' Bty. 75th. Bde.).

Frank was the son of John and Annie Wilkinson of 1 High Street Passage, Leigh, Lancs.

He lived in Leigh and enlisted there.

According to his MIC he was first out in France on 23/8/1915.

Frank died on 2/9/1917 and is buried at II.H.20.

We are definitely going to visit and pay our respects in 2016.

I thank my daughter and an incredibly helpful medal dealer for this amazing connection with the great war and Canada Farm.

Can anyone add anything to Frank's story please?

Best regards.

SPN
Maldon.

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Hello SPN Maldon

The War Diary of 75 Brigade is in the National Archives at Kew in this file:

WO 95/1203 75 Brigade Royal Field Artillery 1915 Sept. - 1919 Mar.
It should be available for download from their website, www.nationalarchives.gov.uk for about £3.50.
Originally formed for one of the New Army Divisions, 75 Bde was transferred to the newly raised Guards Division on the latter's formation in France in August 1915, and served with that division for the rest of the War. War Diaries rarely mention men by name other than officers but the location of the unit, with a brief description of its activities, is usually given for each day.
If you go the The Long Long Trail via the link at top left, and look for the Guards Division, you will be able to see the main actions in which it was involved.
Good hunting!
Ron
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Hello SPN Maldon

The War Diary of 75 Brigade is in the National Archives at Kew in this file:

WO 95/1203 75 Brigade Royal Field Artillery 1915 Sept. - 1919 Mar.
It should be available for download from their website, www.nationalarchives.gov.uk for about £3.50.
Originally formed for one of the New Army Divisions, 75 Bde was transferred to the newly raised Guards Division on the latter's formation in France in August 1915, and served with that division for the rest of the War. War Diaries rarely mention men by name other than officers but the location of the unit, with a brief description of its activities, is usually given for each day.
If you go the The Long Long Trail via the link at top left, and look for the Guards Division, you will be able to see the main actions in which it was involved.
Good hunting!
Ron

Thank you so much Ron - that's very kind of you. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours.

Best wishes.

Stephen.

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The soldiers effects records indicate 32 months qualifying service - suggestive of enlistment in Feb 15.

Craig

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As a further check - #74211 enlisted Jan 15.

Craig

Hi Craig - just found newspaper cutting to say he enlisted June 6th 1915.

Best regards.

SPN

Maldon

This is Frank.

post-43629-0-37784300-1451330209_thumb.j

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Hi Craig - just found newspaper cutting to say he enlisted June 6th 1915.

A June date would be wrong (is it just a bad print in the paper ?) - the war gratuity figure if he enlisted June 15 would be 28 months (£10 net gratuity).

I've just double checked my calcs (I'm a bit slow mentally today - I blame the stinking cold I have) and it still shows an enlistment of Feb 15 (possibly Jan 15 due to the intricacies of the gratuity). He received a £12 net gratuity (£15 gross). £5 for a basic 12 months service and then 10s per month for the remaining 20 months (£10).

Craig

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Thanks Craig - strange? The newspaper is quite specific in terms of that date but, as you say, it could well be wrong.

Regards.

SPN
Maldon

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Just to confirm his number was issued at No. 2 Depot, Preston on January 5, 1915. It would appear that quite a few men from Leigh enlisted at the same time.

Given the date in France it also looks like he went overseas with 61st (Howitzer) Brigade RFA. B (H)/61 Bty became D (H)/75 Bty on May 15, 1916.

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Thank you very much Craig and David for clarifying the enlistment date. Just goes to show you can't trust newspaper reports!

Based on his Bty and the date of his death (2/9/1917) was he part of the Third Battle of Ypres?

Thank you.

SPN
Maldon

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The Guards Division were part of Fifth Army for nearly all the second half of 1917 so they would have been involved in the Third Battles of Ypres.

David is also right in that B/61 and D/75 swapped places in May 1916. Similar swaps took place in nearly every division at that time, to change from having all-gun or all-howitzer brigades to brigades having three 19-pounder batteries and one howitzer battery.

Ron

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The Guards Division were part of Fifth Army for nearly all the second half of 1917 so they would have been involved in the Third Battles of Ypres.

David is also right in that B/61 and D/75 swapped places in May 1916. Similar swaps took place in nearly every division at that time, to change from having all-gun or all-howitzer brigades to brigades having three 19-pounder batteries and one howitzer battery.

Ron

Thanks Ron - that's really helpful. I was just thinking that his date of death seemed to fit with Third Ypres and wondered where his Bty would have been during the battle?

Regards.

SPN

Maldon

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The Guards Division were part of XIV Corps which held the extreme left flank of the British forces in those battles. The whole division does not appear to have been in the front line for the battles around that time - Langemarck in mid August and the Menin Road in mid September - but as it was common for divisional artillery in those circumstances to support the attacking divisions I would say that 75 Brigade RFA was likely to have been somewhere fairly close to Langemarck.

The War Diary should give you map references.

Ron

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The Guards Division were part of XIV Corps which held the extreme left flank of the British forces in those battles. The whole division does not appear to have been in the front line for the battles around that time - Langemarck in mid August and the Menin Road in mid September - but as it was common for divisional artillery in those circumstances to support the attacking divisions I would say that 75 Brigade RFA was likely to have been somewhere fairly close to Langemarck.

The War Diary should give you map references.

Ron

Excellent - thank you Ron.

Regards.

SPN

Maldon

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