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Margosh

Percy BL Wilkes, 215912. Possibly?

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Margosh

I have in my collection (from Great Aunts) a couple of photos (see below) of the same chap. My aunts lived in Doncaster and the two photos are stamped by a Doncaster photographer. A few months ago I posted a close up of the cap badge, identified as Cambridgeshire Regiment but I had no other clues. I have now found a second photo, a family group. Both cards are stamped on the reverse 21 April 1917. The family group also has  in handwriting:

PBL Wilkes. 7 5/17. EM Wilkes. & (what looks like) Northey Bridget

 

I have searched everywhere I can but no sign of a PBL Wilkes (or EM as not clear which is the chap and which the wife) connected to the Cambridgeshire Regt. I have found, from the Long, Long Trail, that 4/1st Btn of Cambridgeshire’s was in Doncaster from October 1916 before moving to Thoresby in May 1917, so that sort of fits. 

I see no stripes or markings on the chap’s uniform so assume he was Private. 

 

Upto to that point it made sense but with little information. Then I did general searches on PBL Wilkes. I have found Percy Bullen Lewis Wilkes born Oct (?) 1875 at Bridgewater. He qualified as a solicitor and notary, working in Bath until retirement. In 1912 he married Ethel Mary Rice in Bath. In December 1914 they had a daughter Northey Bridget, born in Bath followed by a second daughter Jean Mary born in 1916 in Bath. Percy died in August 1946 in Biddeford, Devon. 

 

Continuing searches have now thrown up reference in WW1 Pension Ledgers, and this totally confuses me. I don’t have access to the full entry but the summary shows:

Percy Bullen Lewis Wilkes, Pte. DoB 1876, residence Westwood As, Devon

Service no 215912

Regiment, Labour

Military Service region, SW England

Discharge  1 April 1919

 

I have searched everything I can think of, potential regiments where the service number would fit, every P Wilkes I can find etc. I have tried to think out of the box but I cannot tie this all up. Am I missing something obvious about the Cambridgeshire Regt link? Is this really the family in the photos or is it just coincidence the names are written in the back?

 

Any ideas, please! I would like to positively identify them if I can. 

 

Thanks

Margaret

 

 

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Edited by Margosh

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ss002d6252
Quote

I have searched everything I can think of, potential regiments where the service number would fit, every P Wilkes I can find etc. I have tried to think out of the box but I cannot tie this all up. Am I missing something obvious about the Cambridgeshire Regt link? Is this really the family in the photos or is it just coincidence the names are written in the back?

 

The pension card just shows the last unit he served with, the labour corps. It's quite feasible he was with a different battalion prior to the labour corps. If he served only at home there won't be any medal records to show a change of battalion - men who served only on home service are very difficult to tie down.

 

Craig

Edited by ss002d6252

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ss002d6252

Just a quick glance around records shows us this man:

#215915 Labour Corps, 385th Home Service Company, previously #330655 Cambridgeshire Regiment.

 

Craig

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Margosh
9 minutes ago, ss002d6252 said:

Just a quick glance around records shows us this man:

#215915 Labour Corps, 385th Home Service Company, previously #330655 Cambridgeshire Regiment.

 

Craig

 

That’s great Craig, thank you. I tried combinations of regiments/corps but couldn’t get any results. I thought the Pension summary maybe showed only the last unit but I dont really know much about them.  I am pleased to be able to confirm who the chap and his family are. Now I can document them.

That’s one lot off the list, on to the others! 

Margaret

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Mark1959

Northey Bridget was born 26/12/14 - so looks about the right age for the photo. She died Bideford, Devon 15/31991.

Edited by Mark1959

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Margosh
7 hours ago, Mark1959 said:

Northey Bridget was born 26/12/14 - so looks about the right age for the photo. She died Bideford, Devon 15/31991.

 

It looks as though neither daughter married (Jean Mary Wilkes died 1998) so possibly no direct descendants, although I haven’t dug down to confirm that as I was concentrating on his military service. I was pretty sure I had the right chap - the name combination is very unusual - but I couldn’t make the definite link/bridge in his Service. I know that men could be allocated anywhere, or where needed most, but for a chap whose life seems firmly tied to Somerset/Devon it seemed less logical that he was in the Cambridgeshire Regiment especially when I read that they were very much local men. Always exceptions!

 

At least I can now write something about them. I have a pile of other unknowns which is a shame as they all came from my Gt Aunts so I think they must have known all of them. Mum said she was told that the family had soldiers billeted with them in Doncaster so I suppose that’s where most of the photos came from. 

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Stebie9173

330667 John Bridgewater transferred from the 5th Worcesters to the 4/1st Cambridgeshire Regiment in the UK on 2-12-1916 so if there was a group of them transferreing at the same time that may provide the West Country link.

 

 

Steve.

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HTSCF Fareham

image.png.5a3a768d68189e9de7cd4c5493f03a4d.png

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Margosh
35 minutes ago, Stebie9173 said:

330667 John Bridgewater transferred from the 5th Worcesters to the 4/1st Cambridgeshire Regiment in the UK on 2-12-1916 so if there was a group of them transferreing at the same time that may provide the West Country link.

 

 

Steve.

 

Certainly a possibility. Thanks Steve. 

I am guessing 4/1st because the timing fits. Also if I have read up correctly they were only home service which would also support the lack of any other records for him (or difficulty in finding them!).

 

Margaret 

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cliff brown

Steve is correct. There was a batch of Worcs Rgt men, from various battalions, posted to 4/1st Cambs on 2-12-1916. If you want to know a bit more about the Cambs Rgt, take a look at our website: http://www.cambridgeshireregiment1914-18.co.uk/

Edited by cliff brown

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Margosh
23 hours ago, cliff brown said:

Steve is correct. There was a batch of Worcs Rgt men, from various battalions, posted to 4/1st Cambs on 2-12-1916. If you want to know a bit more about the Cambs Rgt, take a look at our website: http://www.cambridgeshireregiment1914-18.co.uk/

 

Thanks Cliff. Yes, I had been looking at that website but hadn’t noticed mentions of the Worcs Regt. to make the link. I had noticed the connection with the Suffolks but of course that didn’t fit my chap either. It is a very clear site to use, lots of information, well done to those of you involved. 

 

Margaret

 

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Margosh
On 12/01/2019 at 13:11, HTSCF Fareham said:

image.png.5a3a768d68189e9de7cd4c5493f03a4d.png

 

Sorry, I missed this. Thank you, much clearer.

 

As an aside, today I came across another photo of a small girl, dated 1919. On the back is written “Northey with her hat!”. That wouldn’t have meant anything to me before but now I know it is the same little girl. The families must have kept in touch after the war at least for a while. 

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