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John Wilkinson was born in 1899, and baptised at Patterdale Church on 9th July 1899. He was the illegitimate son of Margaret Rebecca Wilkinson, daughter of John & Elizabeth Wilkinson who lived at Glencoin Farm Cottages. John’s grandfather, Joseph Wilkinson, was head of Glencoin Farm and a man of some standing. We can only guess the reasons for what happened next but all we know for sure is that aged just 1, John Wilkinson was listed as a “boarder” with the Chapplow family in Dockray in the 1901 Census. The Chapplows had a long association with the Wilkinsons with several members of the family having worked on the farm. By 1911 John had been formally adopted by the Chapplows and was living with 82 year old John Chapplow, and his daughter Margaret (46) and grandson John Chapplow (24).
We do not know anything about John’s war service but we know he enlisted in The King’s (Liverpool Regiment) as soon as he was old enough, and that sadly he died on the 28th September 1918. He is buried at Boisleux-
As well as his grave in Boisleux-
Perhaps the saddest part of this story is that on the 20th February 1922 the Commanding Officer of the Liverpool Regiment requested permission to dispose of John’s medals, as no next of kin could be found. Likewise his army pension was never issued as no next of kin could be found. As well as his mother we know for a fact that his Uncle Joseph was still thriving in Patterdale, firstly at Beckstones and then at Deepdale. Joseph and his wife Annie had 6 children, all Private Wilkinson’s first cousins. One of these, also a John, died on the 30th July 1968 and lived at Moss Side Patterdale. John’s Great Uncles Joseph and Jonathan also lived out their days happily in Middleton Place, Patterdale before their deaths in 1919 and 1946 – and their grave can be seen in Patterdale churchyard today.
If you can add anything to Private Wilkinson’s story please let us know.
Private John Wilkinson
87009, 8th Bn., The King's (Liverpool Regiment)
Born 1899 Patterdale. Died 28th September 1918, Aged 19 Arras, France
Son of Margaret Rebecca Wilkinson (Glencoin Farm), and adopted son of the Chapplow family, Dockray
John’s obituary in the Cumberland & Westmorland Herald 19th October 1918
John’s Medal Index Card stating that no next of kin could be found, and likewise below his entry in the Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects