PRIVATE 8093 1ST BATTALION OXFORD AND BUCKS LIGHT INFANTRY
DIED ON 19TH JULY 1916 AGED 39YRS
REMEMBERED WITH HONOUR AMARA WAR CEMETERY,IRAQ
GRAVE REF: IX.E.21
Harry Wilks was born in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire in 1877. His parents were John & Martha. In 1881 the family were living at Vine Terrace, Chepping Wycombe ( later known as High Wycombe) and John is a brick layer. Harry is listed as Henry and he has 7 siblings listed. Kate aged 11yrs, John aged 9yrs, Robert aged 8yrs, William aged 7 yrs , Alice aged 5yrs (written as Hales?) Alfred aged 3yrs and Sidney a baby. Harry is 4yrs old.
In 1891 the family are living at Gordon Road, High Wycombe and the family now includes Albert & Clara. Harry is now 13yrs old.
In 1901 Harry is most likely away in the army.
By 1911 Harry is boarding with the Swain family at Flackwell Heath.
Harry first enlisted in 1897 service number 2936 or 5474. The service papers are confusing but information confirmed is that he enlisted at Oxford and he was 5’4” tall, fresh complexion, hazel eyes and light brown hair. He had a scar on his forehead and tattoos on the fingers of both hands. He was living at Gordon Road. It is possible that he went to India in 1898 until 1903 and during this time he spent some time in hospital with Malaria and influenza.
He re-enlisted when he was 32yrs and 6mths and saw action in WW1 from 1914.
Harry was in Mesopotamia during the battle against the Turks and the surrender of the Kut garrison in April 1916. The Turks gained extra strength and morale after this defeat of the British and intensified their fight. The Regimental War Diary for 19th July 1916 states their position as “Amara Perimeter Camp. Tigris Right Bank. Training and fatigues”. “ 8093 Pte Wilks, H died of Enteric.” During the month of July 3 men died of enteric, 1 of cholera and 1 of dysentery. The strength of the Battalion on 31st July was 13 Officers and 287 other ranks.
Amara was occupied by the Mesopotamia Expeditionary Force on 3rd June 1915 and immediately became a hospital centre. By April 1917 there were 7 general hospitals and some smaller units stationed here. The cemetery contains 4,621 WW1 burials.
Harry is also remembered on the Wycombe Hospital Memorial plaque and his name appears on the High Wycombe Roll of Honour.