SKELTON - IN - CLEVELAND
"WE WILL REMEMBER THEM" |
115618 Gunner JOSEPH PICKERING WILKS.
"B" Bty, 94th Bde, Royal Field Artillery.
Killed in action, aged 22, on the 25th April 1918.
Born in South Shields, Co Durham. Enlisted at Richmond, N Yorks.
Son of Joseph Pickering and Margaret Wilks of 35 Wharton St, North Skelton, N Yorkshire.
Westoutre British Cemetery.
1911. Joseph, aged 14, was living at 35 Wharton St, North Skelton, N Yorks and was working as a Coal Leader for a General Dealer. He had been born in South Shields, Co Durham.
His father, also Joseph Pickering, aged 44 was a Labourer in the Ironstone Mine. He had been born at Rosedale Abbey, N Yorks.
His mother, Margaret, aged 48, had been born in Spittal, Northumberland. She had had 6 children and all were still living.
She has a son from a previous marriage, James Grey, aged 23, living with them and he works as a Bank Rider in the Mines.
Joseph has an older brother, William, aged 17, who is a sneck-lifter in the Mines. [lets the Tubs out of the cage].
And 3 sisters - twins Mary Jane and Lily Blanche aged 10 and Gladys aged 6.
The 94th Bde RFA were part of the 21st Division.
Joseph's Medal Card shows that he was not awarded the 1914/15 Star and therefore did not join his unit in France until 1916 or later.
At the time Joseph was killed this Division were fighting in the Battles of the Lys 9th to 29th April.
In November 1917 the Germans made a Peace with Russia. In the Spring of 1918 they were able to bring their Divisions from the East to reinforce their forces in the West.|
Believing the Allies were weakened and they had great superiority, they launched 3 great offensives intending to reach the coast before the Americans entered the War in strength.
The first of these was in March on the Somme where they advanced some 40 miles nearly to Amiens.
On April 9 they started another on the River Lys, West of Armentieres and advanced about 20 miles.
Many British lads were killed and wounded in resisting this advance and Joseph must have been one.
Westoutre British Cemetery is 300 yards North of the village, on the East side of the road to Poperinghe, which is about
10k West of Ypres.
It was begun by British troops in October, 1917, and used until the following April, and again in August to October, 1918.