Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Thomas Wilkinson VC

This is the grave of Bombardier Thomas Wilkinson VC, Royal Marines Artillery. He served during the Crimean War, and on 7th June 1855 at the Battle of Sebastopol Bombardier Wilkinson was especially recommended for gallant conduct in the advanced Batteries in placing sandbags to repair the damage under a galling fire; his name having been sent up on the occasion as worthy of special notice by the Commanding Officer of the Artillery of the Right Attack. (Letter from Colonel Wesley, Deputy Adjutant General, Royal Marines.) 
The Victoria Cross (VC) is the highest military decoration awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy" to members of the armed forces of Commonwealth countries. The first investiture of the Victoria Cross took place in Hyde Park, London on Friday 26th June 1857. Thomas Wilkinson was at this investiture and was only the 14th ever war veteran to be awarded this medal. The VC was pinned to his uniform coat by Queen Victoria herself.
He was later a Sergeant Instructor for Auxiliary Forces and was eventually invalided from the Royal Marines Artillery on 12th October 1859. As well as the VC, he also received the French Legion of Honour, the Turkish Crimea Medal and the British Crimea Medal with clasps for Balaclava, Inkerman and Sebastopol.
He died aged 55, in York on 22nd September 1887 where he was buried with full military honours in York cemetery. 
Taking part in Tapohpile Tragics


  1. He seems to have died quite young! I wonder if all the heavy war involvement took its toll in some way! An interesting, courageous character!

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  4. The fact that he died at age 55 as a 'pensioner' makes me think that his life was not easy after the war.

  5. Fabulous post. What a brave man, thank you for sharing!

    Herding Cats

  6. Interesting post about this exceptional man.

  7. 55 is young to pass on. although he was invalided for a long time!

  8. beautiful photo and thanks for sharing the background information with us, very interesting read!

  9. seems like a nice green and grassy cemetery.... i like those where the grass grows up high...!

  10. He was just in his early 20s when he did all that Crimean War stuff. My guess is it took a mighty toll. However, being a RMA pensioner is not surprising considering that one cannot stay active in the army forever.

    Fancy being 'pinned' personally by Queen Victoria. I bet that was something he wrote home about.

    The headstone here is an unusual shape for a cross.Is it meant to resemble the shape of a VC, do you know, Deb? I do like the design in the centre, which does not look as though it has aged at all in the interim.

    Many thanks for this wonderful contribution to our Taphophile Tragics meme.

    1. I do think the cross is meant to represent the VC Julie as the medal itself is in the shape of a cross albeit with flat rather than rounded sides. The centre design is ivy leaves and berries, symbolic of abiding memory, friendship and fidelity, clearly showing the high regard Bombardier Wilkinson was held in by his comrades in arms.


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