Leonard George Wilkinson was a native of Norfolk who after marriage in 1925 had three children and lived in several places in Essex. As a Territorial he was mobilised at the war's outbreak, went to France and survived the evacuation from Dunkirk. He transferred to home defence duties and died from an asthma attack in Chelmsford in March 1945.
Leonard George WILKINSON, Private, Essex Regiment, formerly of 108th (Essex) Electrical & Mechanical Company, Royal Engineers. Died from an asthma attack in Chelmsford. Aged 45
Braintree. While living in Braintree Leonard worked as a lorry driver.
His career was not without incident. In April 1933 he was fined twenty shillings for failing to report an accident in Dugger’s Lane when his vehicle collided with a parked car. He also had to pay ten shillings expenses. In December 1934 he was fined £2 for speeding at Great Leighs on 24th November 1934 when he did between 28 and 30 miles per hour in a van when he should have kept at no more than 20 miles per hour.
Prior to the Second World War Leonard moved back to Chelmsford. He was a member of the Territorial 108th (Essex) Electrical and Mechanical Company, Royal Engineers, which had its headquarters in New London Road, Chelmsford. The unit was mobilized at the outbreak of the war and Leonard went with it to France. He survived the evacuation from Dunkirk in 1940, and was subsequently invalided out of the army.
Leonard is then thought to have served on home defence duties as Private 2312110 in the Essex Regiment. He worked for Messrs, Brittain Pash, makers of agricultural equipment, and is believed to have worked as a prison warder in Essex at one time.
Aged 45, he died from an asthma attack on 5th March 1945. at his home, 11 Riverside in Springfield.
Five days later he was buried in grave 6131 at Chelmsford Borough Cemetery.
His widow's ashes were added to the grave when she died in 1974.
Leonard was born in Bylaugh, Norfolk in 1899, the son of John Wilkinson (born 1868) and Dinah Rachel Wilkinson (nee Ramm) (1867-1929). His parents had married in Norfolk nine years earlier, and produced at least five siblings for Leonard: Mary Wilkinson (born 1892), James Wilkinson (born 1894), Alton Maria Wilkinson (1895-1971), Lilian Maud E. Wilkinson (born 1898), and Emily Maud Wilkinson (born 1900).
In 1901 the census recorded one year-old Leonard living with his parents and five siblings at Dixons Farm, Pattesley Road, Oxwick with Pattesley in Norfolk. A decade later eleven year-old Leonard was living with his parents and two siblings at Rookery Cottage Potter Heigham. At the time his father was farm steward.
On 17th June 1925 Leonard married Evelyn Minnie Saville (1904-1974) in Essex. The couple had three children including: Irene M. Wilkinson (born 1925), Robert Wilkinson (1931-1992) and Michael J,. Wilkinson (1934-).
The family initially lived in Chelmsford, then went to West Hanningfield. In 1933 they were living in Dugger’s Lane in Braintree. Three years later they were at Bartram Avenue in