Neville Dacre WILKINSON (1899-1918)

9th Infantry Brigade AIF

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Memorial Plaque Neville Dacre Wilkinson

33rd BATTALION AIF.

Private: 2916 Neville Dacre WILKINSON.


Born: 1899. Dubbo, New South Wales, Australia. Birth Cert:11666/1899.

Died: 30th March 1918. Killed in Action Hagard Wood near Villers-Bretonneoux, France.


Father: John Dacre Wilkinson.

Mother: Lydia Rebecca Wilkinson. nee:.


INFORMATION

Neville Dacre Wilkinson enlisted 6th Reinforcements, 33rd Battalion AIF on the 10th of November 1916 and left Sydney on board HMAT A72 "Beltana" on the 25th of November 1916. Neville was posted to A Company No: 2 Platoon. Neville was promoted to the rank of Acting Sergeant as he held the rank of 2nd Lieutenant with 43a Senior Cadets prior to enlistment with the AIF. He disembarked at Devonport England on the 29th January 1917 and reverted back to the ranks as a Private on the 31st of January but was again appointed Acting Sergeant on the 1st of February. Neville was marched in from Training School at Tidworth on the 26th of March and reverted to the rank of Private on the 26th of March. He proceeded overseas for France via Folkstone on the 3rd of May 1917 and was marched in to Estaples the next day. He was marched out to the front on the 21st of May 1917 and was taken on in strength. The 33rd were praparing for a push at Messines.

Neville was Wounded in Action on the 7th June and was treated for Shell Shock and was treated by the 9th Australian Field Ambulance who evacuated him to the 4th Stationary Hospital at Arques. Neville rejoined his unit on the 23rd of June 1917 but was treated on the 26th of July by the 2nd Australian Casualty Clearing Station with a Disability before being transfered to the 20th General Hospital at Camiers. He embarked for England on the 7th August onboard the Hospital Ship "Essequibo".

Hospital Ship Essequibo

Hospital Ship "Essequibo"

Neville was admitted to the Southwalk Military Hospital suffering from Diarrhoea and remained in Hospital until his discharge on the 27th of September where he was granted Furlo from the 27th September until the 11th October 1917. He reported to London Headquarters on the 11th of October and was marched in to the No:2 Command Depot for overseas deployment . On the 1st February 1918 Neville was again heading oveaseas for France via Southampton and was marched in to Rouelles the next day. He was marched out to the front on the 4th of February and Taken on in Strength on the Front Line with the 33rd Battalion on the 5th of February 1918.

30th March 1918.

9:30am: weather wet, Battalion left CACHY and marched to BOIS LE ABBE, where they bivouaced in readiness to go forward as Counter attack troops. "B" Teams were sent to BLANGY-TRONVILLE. Battalion moved up as support Battalion to 33rd Battalion AIF who were attacking on north side of BOIS DE HANGARD and LANCERS WOOD. Battalion moved West and South of CACHY when approaching BOIS DE HANGARD advanced in Artillery formation. Battalion halted just north of BOIS DE HANGARD in position of rediness to support 33rd Battalion AIF.

6:00pm: About 6:00pm A Company 34th Battalion was detailed to go forward to report to Commanding Officer 33rd Battalion AIF who were on left flank of attack. In moving up A Company extended into 4 lines of skirmishes and laid down with cover fire from line near 33rd Battalion Headquarters. Officer Commanding A Company Captain: Telford Graham GILDER went forward to reconnoitre 33rd Battalion's line. B Company 33rd Battalion was found to have suffered heavy casulties and enermy were still holding the top of ridge. It was therfore decided to attack enermys position on ridge.

34th Battalion Diary

Neville was Killed in Action and was one of these casualties on the 30th March 1918 at Hangard Wood.

Villers Bretonneux Cemetery

Villers Bretonneux Cemetery

VILLERS-BRETONNEUX WAR MEMORIAL

War Graves Project

13th June 1918.

Informant: Lance Corporal: 118 Francis Michael McGRATH  Private: 2916 Neville Dacre WILKINSON was a Lewis Gunner, A Company No2 Platoon and was killed on the Saturday afternoon in Easter Week, and not on March3rd, it was near Villers Bretonneux and we were counter attacking and three of them took the Lewis Gun to a little opening in a copse. Private: 2165 Ralph HOPE A Company No: 2 Platoon was firing first and was shot through the head in a minute and then Private: 5073 Frederick Singleton MARTIN A Company No:2 Platoon tried and he was shot through the head too almost immediately and then Private: 2916 Neville Dacre WILKINSON A Company No:2 Platoon went and tried to use it and he was shot through the head at once and killed instantly. The Boche had got a Machine Gun on them. The Sergeant Major saw the mess they were in and tried to get up to them but was shot through the stomach before he got near and it was so hot there the Stretcher Beraers had to drag him back 40 yards before they could get him on a stretcher to see to him. I was close to and saw it all. We dug in then but were not able to get near to recover their bodies. His Christian name was Neville and he was a Sydney chap. A very good lad only 21 or so.

No:1 Command Depot Sutton Veny.

21st February 1919.

Informant; Lance Corporal: 2917 Victor Thomas WHATLEY "Described Private: 2916 Neville Dacre WILKINSON was about 5ft 6inch high fairly stout build, medium complexion aged about 21. Father a Bank Manager and lived at Darlinghurst Road. Informant states that they both belonged to A Company 2nd Platoon. On 30th March 1918 being Easter Saturday, the Battalion was in action at Hangard Wood. They hopped over at 4:00pm. About an hour later, before they got their objective which was a line of trenches the other side of the Wood, Wilkinson was killed outright by a bullet in the head. Informant was about 20 yards away and saw him just after he was hit. Wilkinson was on his hand and knees when hit and his position was not altered after he was struck. He was taken away sfter dark and buried somewhere in the vicinity of Cachey, but informant did not know exact place. According to informant Wilkinson was a well liked chap".

No:4 Australian General Hospital, Randwick.

Neville's Memorial Plaque was acquired in October 2008 and is now in the collection. His plaque was first issued on the 5th of February 1923 to his brother Staff Sergeant: 1781 Roy Dacre Wilkinson. 3rd Australian Field Ambulance, AIF.

Memorial Plaque

Mirror (Sydney, NSW), Sunday 16 March 1919, p4

WOMAN CHARGED WITH SENDING MALICIOUS BLACKMAILING LETTERS SEQUEL TO THE HARRY LESTON MYSTERY IN COURT

Three weeks ago the Mirror referred to the case of a woman who had written letters to mothers making allegations against their morality. Other letters were received by women who had lost sons at the war. They all were signed "H. Leston"' and caused him, as well as those to whom they were posted, the keenest distress.

FIVE SUMMONSES ISSUED.

Detectives Ferguson and McKnight have had the matter in hand and at the Central Summons Court on Wednesday Agnes Beard, a woman about 35 years of age, appeared before Mr. Burton Smith, S.M., on five charges of sending defamatory letters. One of the charges accuses the defendant of writing to Mary Louisa Agatha Pascall, of Heath street, Randwick, wife of Alfred Rankin Pascall a defamatory letter concerning Harry John Joseph Xavier Daly, commonly known as Harry Leston. DEMAND FOR £20.

The letter was in the following format. 135 Castlereagh-street. (opp. Sunday Times Office)

11/3/'18

Dear Madam, Unless you send me the sum of £20 within four days I shall inform your husband of our former intimacy. He may be surprised to learn that you were my mistress for two years.

Yours, etc. H. LESTON.

There were two informations sworn against the defendant in respect to this letter. Two others referred to a similar letter forwarded to Alice Olga Marie Rothery, of Nangar, Bay-road, North Sydney, the wife of Surtees Rotbery.

"SCANDAL OF DEEPEST DYR."

The fifth information alleged that the following letter was sent by defendant to Lydia Rebecca Wilkinson, of Eagles-field, Darlinghurst -road, Darlinghurst, wife of John Dacre Wilkinson, concerning her son, Neville Dacre Wilkinson:— 135 Castlereagh-street, (opp. Sunday Times Office),

22/4/'18.

Dear Madam, Allow me to inform you that your son, lately reported killed, though young, was still a scoundrel of the deepest dye. He induced my mistress to leave my apartments, and after stealing her jewels, abandoned her. He enlisted merely to escape my vengeance. Unless you send me the sum of £20 within four days I shall have his infamy published in Truth.— Yours, etc., H. LESTON.

CASES ADJOURNED FOR MONTH.

When the cases were called Mr. Kidston (of the Crown Law Department), who appeared for the prosecution, applied for a remand for a month. He said that an important witness was in Melbourne and it was desired that he should be in attendance. Mr. E. R. Abigail, who appeared for the defendant, consented to the postponement. The heating, therefore, was adjourned until April 9, 1919. The blackmail letter received by Neville’s mother was the one printed by the media

Family Information

Neville was a single 19 year old Bank Official upon enlistment and served with the 43a Senior Cadets with the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. His parents John and Lydia Wilkinson were married in 1895 at Dubbo, N.S.W. Marriage Cert:12411/1895 and had 5 children, 4 boys and 1 girl. Harold Dacre Wilkinson born 1891 at Sydney, N.S.W. Birth Cert:121/1891. Roy Dacre Wilkinson born 1892 at Cootamundra, N.S.W. Birth Cert:11553/1892 and died in 1966 at St Leonards, N.S.W. Death Cert:16897/1966. John Darce Wilkinson born 1895 at Dubbo, N.S.W. Birth Cert:12411/1895 and died in 1977. Death Cert:5914/1977. Neville Dacre Wilkinson born 1899 at Dubbo, N.S.W. Birth Cert:11666/1899 and died in 1918, France. Vera M Wilkinson born in 1901 at Dubbo, N.S.W. Birth Cert:12336/1901.

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© Commonwealth of Australia (National Archives of Australia)

Under Construction; 25/10/2008-20/12/2016.


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