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George William Wilkins


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I'm trying to find information on my great, great grandfather who died in WW1 for a biography for school he was in the 2nd/5th Gloucestershire Regiment and died on the 7th of April 1917. We visited his grave two years ago but I can't find any information on what battle he died in.  His number is 241181. I know there is a book written about this regiment but we are on a boat currently in Cuba getting ready to sail to Bermuda so I don't have an address to get anything mailed too.  I go to a Distance Ed school in Queensland and have two weeks to get my biography written.  I have postcards that my great, great grandfather wrote to his wife and photos of him, just not a lot of information.  If anyone could help I would greatly appreciate it.

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Do you mean George Edmund Wilkins ?

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The war gratuity for #241181 Wilkins shows he was paid £9 (net), £11 (gross). This was paid for 22 months service, indicating enlistment in the month from 8 June 1915.



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While George Edmund Wilkins is now buried in Vadencourt British Cemetery, his was a reburial.  A number of men of 2/5th Gloucesters and two from the Sherwood Foresters had been buried in a temporary cemetery near to where they fell a little to the north of the present day cemetery..  The men were recovered to Vadencourt in October 1919.  Their original place of burial was (see map/image at 


in the upper left quadrant of square 11 at the top of what now is a very light coloured field.  To check the area out on Google Earth or maps, center the search on Maissemy France.


The battalion, part of the 61st Division, was in action in early 1917 in pursuit of the enemy to the Hindenburg line.  On 2nd April it had taken Bihecourt.  At 1240 am on the 7th April, the battalion launched an attack very much along the line of the (now) D 33 road towards the north east.  Unfortunately, the preceding artillery fire to cut the German wire had been only partially .successful so many men were held up at the wire, the enemy taking full advantage.  The attackers withdrew at 4 am.  In the action they lost 15 men killed and a number of wounded.   These were the men all buried in the earlier cemetery, the list is headed by Cpl Wilkins. 




This wasn't a "Named Battle", small and medium scale actions were taking place all the time.

Edited by MaxD
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thank you so much my mum said somebody told her a long time ago that he had died on a wire fence but we couldn't find anything on it and when my older brother was 5 and they drove through France and my brother kept saying thats where my great, great grandfather died, mum said it was spooky.  Thank you so much for the information I really appreciate it.

Yes sorry its George Edmund Wilkins his son was George William Wilkins my mistake

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Heres a bit more now I know who we are looking for 


Name: George Edmund Wilkins
Birth Place: Lower Slaughton, Glos
Death Date: 7 Apr 1917
Death Place: France and Flanders
Enlistment Place: Gloucester
Rank: Corporal
Regiment: Gloucestershire Regiment
Battalion: 2 5th Battalion (Territorial)
Regimental Number: 241181
Type of Casualty: Killed in action
Theatre of War: Western European Theatre
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Every little detail helps !

At enlistment ( Post 3 here indicates likely Jun 1915) your soldier was numbered 3568TF and only took the 241181 number when the Territorial Force was re-numbered in 1917.

His Medal Roll shows that he only landed in a war zone and served with 2/5 Battalion. Sometimes there is more than one unit.

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Agreed, more - 


The outline of 2/5th Battalion can be found here:



Unusually the war diary starts in September 1915 while they were still in UK (the months of Feb/Mar/Apr 1916 are missing).  On 24 May 1916 the 34 officers and 786 other ranks sailed from Southampton to Le Havre.  Their instruction in the trenches began a week or so later, they took their first fatal casualties in the first week of June.  Should you wish to read the war diary it can be downloaded from the National Archives here for £3.50 http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7355353

It is also on Ancestry.   It would be quite legitimate to look upon the diary as the war history of your relative. 

It may be impractical in your particular circumstances but there is a history of 2/5th:


(presumably available from other sellers) which would really fill in background.  Perhaps someone could get it for you in Queensland ready for when you return?


Good luck with the bio.





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