Ernest Wilk(e)s



Village memories: Village shop (picture from SWOP website)

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PRIVATE 11277 2ND BATTALION OXFORD & BUCKS LIGHT INFANTRY
DIED ON 16TH MAY 1915 AGED 25YRS
REMEMBERED WITH HONOUR LE TOURET MEMORIAL,
PAS DE CALAIS, FRANCE
GRAVE REF:PANEL 26

Ernest Wilkes was born in Flackwell Heath, Buckinghamshire C 1892. He was the son of George Henry & Eliza Emily nee Why. They married in 1881. In 1891 the family are living at Flackwell Heath and the children listed are William aged 9yrs, Albert aged 7yrs, Edward aged 4yrs and Henry aged 9mths. Ernest must have been born later. Also living with them is Elizaís widowed father John Why. Ernestís father is a bricklayer.
In 1901 the family are now living with John Why (Wye?). Ernest is listed as grandson of the Head of the family (John WYE) and the other grandchildren listed are, William, Albert, Edward, Victor, Vincent, Bertha and Sydney. Ernest is a general labourer.
Ernestís army service papers cannot be traced online but his brother Edwardís show that their parents were living at Orchard View, Flackwell Heath in 1914. Ernest enlisted at Oxford. He saw action on the Western Front and would have fought with Ernest Barton who also died on the same day. They were possibly killed during the Battle of Festubert which began on 15th May 1915 and ended on 25th May or the heavy fighting a Richebourg on 15th & 16th May. It was fought in the Artois region of France. The objective was to prevent the Germans moving to Arras .There were 16,000 casualties at the end of this offensive, 400 of these were from the Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry. Both these local men were killed at this time and remembered on the Le Touret memorial on Panel 26. The surname is sometimes spelt as Wilks.

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