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WILKINS, Charles William (1894-1937) – Royal Field Artillery

Gunner Charles William Wilkins (1894-1937) moved to Wickhamford after his period of service in the war. He was born in Badsey, the twin son of market gardener Willie Rogers Wilkins and his wife, Emily.

The Wilkins twins are mentioned in several letters written by the Sladden family, as they were trying to be exempted from conscription and appeared before the tribunal.  The outcome was that one had to enlist whilst the other was allowed to stay at home; Charles enlisted whilst his brother, Alfred, remained in Badsey.

There are no surviving Army records of his service, but he is mentioned in the Badsey Parish Magazines of late 1917.  The November 1917 edition says that Gunner C. W. Wilkins, Royal Field Artillery had been serving in Mesopotamia. He had been suffering from a tumour before he joined up and had to be sent back to India for an operation.  He wrote home to say that this had been successful and he was expecting to be ‘sent to the hills’ for convalescence.  The next month the Magazine reported that he was better.  His Medal Index card survives and he received the Victory and British War Medals and also the Silver War Badge, so must have been invalided out of the Army; his service number was 162605.  He appears on the 1919 Absent Voters’ List as from Aldington (the Wilkins family lived in a house on Bretforton Road which was once part of Aldington, but is now Badsey).

The Gloucestershire Echo of 7th April 1937 carried a report of Charles Wilkins’ death due to an accident in Badsey on 27th March.  He had been ‘zig-zagging about the road’ and fell off of the bicycle.  At the time of his death a few days after the incident, he was a market gardener’s labourer, living on Pitchers Hill, Wickhamford.