Reginald (Reg) was the elder son of William Alfred Wilkins and his wife Emma nee Satchell who were married in Rugby district in 1892. He was born in Rugby in 1895, and had an older sister Florence Gertrude born in Helidon Northants, and a younger sister Winifred Maud also born in Rugby. A brother Harold Cecil born in Leicester completed the family.
His father William born in Dunchurch was a general corn dealer working on his own account in 1901 when the family were living at 287 Welford Road, Leicester. His mother Emma had been born in Rugby and was baptised at St Andrews Church on 5 October 1883, daughter of George Satchell, a labourer, and Emma of Gas Street.
William died in Rugby early in 1911; in the census of that year Emma a widow was living at 377 Clifton Road, Rugby with her children Florence, 17, working in the Mazda Lamp Dept at British Thomson Houston (BTH), Reginald, 16, a shop assistant with W H Smith, Winifred, 14, also a shop assistant (at Hortons Bazaar), and schoolboy Harold, 10. Although she says she was married for 17 years, and had six children, five living, I have been unable to find any other children than these four.
Reginald joined the 1st Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment as Private 16008, but there are no records of his service other than his medal card showing he was awarded the British War and Victory Medals, and the register of Soldiers’ Effects. His mother received his outstanding pay of £5.13s.4d in 1917 and a £3 War Gratuity in 1919.
Reginald was killed in action on 12 October 1916, and is buried in Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval. He was originally “presumed dead” on the Soldiers Effects register, but the grave register details have been amended. The regimental number had been misread as 16006, with the name H Wilkins of the Black Watch. Reginald’s date of death has also been added. The CGWC citation records his parents’ address as 22 Cannon Street, St Albans, where Emma must have moved after the war. Caterpillar Valley was originally a small cemetery made in 1918, but after the war the bodies of 5,500 from a number of smaller cemeteries and the Battle of the Somme were re-interred here. However there are only 1773 named graves, the rest are unknown soldiers.
An In Memoriam appears in the Rugby Advertiser in 1921 from his mother, brother and sisters, but there appears to be no mention of his death at the time.
RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM