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Corporal 205684, M.M., Depot Tank Corps.

Died of illness, 2nd February 1918, age 27.

Buried in Weymouth Cemetery, Dorset, UK.

Former student of textiles.


 

 

Wilfred, born 28th July 1890, was the son of Arthur, a shipping merchant manager, and Annie Brookes of Sale. He was the third of four children, the rest all girls. He attended three Grammar Schools;  Sale, Manchester and Bolton and entered The Tech in 1908 to study textiles. (It is unclear why he is listed as a Manchester University student in the 1920 Roll of Honour as he did not register for a degree awarding course). He passed his second year City and Guild certificates in Spinning and Weaving and went on to be an assistant manager of a cotton weaving factory.

From 1st February 1909 to 30th September 1911 Wilfred was a member of the University Officer Training Corps. Unable to take up a roll in the army due to his job he later became an Inspector of Munitions for Westinghouse. He eventually enlisted with the Machine Gun Corps on 30th April 1916, trained at Bisley, and became an instructor before transferring to the Tank Corps. Sent to the Western Front on 29th August 1916 he was in one of the tanks that attacked Flers on 15th September 1916. His tank was hit and caught fire, but he escaped and volunteered to join another tank. Two weeks later he was in action again. When his tank became entangled in barbed wire he climbed out, attempted to cut the wire, but came under fire from the Germans. Rather than abandon the tank to the enemy he was ordered to set fire to it and withdraw. Whilst doing so he as injured in the arm by a grenade. For these actions he was awarded a Military Medal. Evacuated to a hospital near Edinburgh he was out of action for nearly 12 months and spent some time, once better, as the X-ray department workshop manager. On return to duty he was sent to the depot in Worget Camp where he took ill with cerebrospinal meningitis and died in Weymouth Isolation Hospital in early February 1918.