Lawrence Arnold Wilkins 25 August 1918

Lawrence Arnold Wilkins, was a Notttingham boy, the son of a vicar and was born in the city in August 1894. He came up to Laxton House in September 1908, leaving five years later, a year before the outbreak of war. In his last year, he won one of the top awards - the Lilford Prize – and for two years running took the prize for French composition. He was also in the School crew, rowing at 2, even though he was thought to be too light for that position at just 10 stone 8. The crew went all the way to Durham, where, as guests of the headmaster of Durham School, they won the Corporation Challenge Cup. In the famous debate about the relative merits of cricket and tennis, Wilkins opined that “tennis was ‘slacker’ than cricket and personally, he preferred tennis”. In that same debating chamber, he said that “the advance of civilization” had been attended by “a decrease in war.” 

After leaving Oundle, he was articled to a solicitor in Nottingham. 

When war broke out, he obtained a commission in the York and Lancaster Regiment and, in August 1915, after eight months training, he was sent out to join the Service Battalion in France. Apart from a six month spell back in England, he served nearly three years in France, and by June 1917 had been appointed Captain. Re-joining the York and Lancaster Regiment in April 1918, he was killed in action on 25 August 1918 near Ervillers, a village close to Bapaume on the Somme, as the British finally turned back the great German advance, which had started in the spring of that year.

Lawrence Wilkins was killed 8 days after his 24th birthday and was buried at Mory Abbey Military Cemetery. His widowed mother put the words “In His Steps” on her son’s headstone.

C Pendrill
Yarrow Fellow