1. Memorial:Ypres Town Cemetery ExtensionI. G. 1. Flanders
2. Book:The (1921) Masonic Roll of Honour 1914-1918Pg.138
3. Memorial:The (1940) Scroll - WW1 Roll of Honour26D GQS

Awards & Titles:

Distinguished Conduct Medal

Family :

Son of David and Christina Hunter Wilkie, of Burntisland, Fife; husband of Harriet Wilkie, of Avondale, 151 Hampton Rd., Ilford, Essex.

Service Life:


Unit / Ship / Est.: 1/Leinster Regiment 

1st Battalion August 1914 : in Fyzabad, India. Returned to England, landing Plymouth on 16 November 1914. Moved to Winchester and came under orders of 82nd Brigade in 27th Division. 20 December 1914 : landed at Le Havre. Moved to Salonika, arriving 12 December 1915. 2 November 1916 : transferred to 29th Brigade in 10th (Irish) Division. 14 september 1917 : Division moved to Egypt for service in Palestine.

Action : The Battle of Neuve Chapelle and subsidiary actions 

Following a winter in the trenches the BEF was prepared to take the offensive against the Germans. The location was Neuve Chapelle, a small village in the front line below Aubers Ridge near Lille. Aubers Ridge was a low but significant hill and the intention at Neuve Chappell was to punch through the German front line, occupy the ridge and exploit with cavalry. It was a battle fought by two Corps of the BEF, the Indian Corps and IV Corps both largely consisting of regular battalions. It was to be preceded by the most violent artillery barrage of the war to date. Unfortunately in what was to be the start of the 'learning curve' for the BEF the artillery barrage, whilst violent, failed in some parts ? a failure that was to be costly and which delayed the assault and allowed the Germans to recover. Whilst the men were exceptionally brave they became bogged down as German machine guns and artillery stopped the momentum of the assault and by the end of the first day (10th March 1915) they were digging in. The following day the assault was repeated with fresh battalions but with no success. By the 12th March the Germans had recovered their poise, had brought in reserves and were ready to counter attack.

Neuve Chapelle (10-12 March 1915) was the first planned offensive battle by the BEF in France and achieved limited tactical success but not the expected breakthrough. It highlighted the problem of delay in execution that allowed the defending Germans to regroup, often consequent on small incidents and errors. Having stabilised the situation following the German sweep into France and the counter attack that eventually established static trench warfare on the western front, there was significant pressure on Britain to take a share of the burden from the French (who had without question had born the brunt of the fighting). Although the battle was effectively over by 12th March, the official battle nomenclature included actions in other sectors up to 22 April 1915 including the significant actions at St Eloi and at Hill 60 (Ypres).

Detail :

John WILKIE was born June 16 1874 at Auchterderran in Fife. Father David, Mother Christina (living at Wester Lochead Farm Cottage) one of 7 children. He joined the Scots Guards between July and November 1894 aged 19 years. He fought in the Boer War and appears to have won the DCM in that conflict. Andrew Meldrum has given much information about his ancestor: 'Family folk lore suggests that he was part of a detachment of mounted soldiers who were formed to try and match the Boer Mounted Guerrillas. There are also photos of him is in dress uniform of the Scots Guards as a Sergeant and looks to be circa 1903. The next one is circa 1907 with his wife and their daughter Christina. He is in the uniform of Colour Sergeant Scots Guards and is sporting a number of medals which includes one with clasps which are likely from battles in the Boer War. I am sure that a medal specialist could identify if one of them is the DCM. He is also wearing the SASC (Small Arms School Corps) badges on both his sleeves'. He was a member of Wanderers Lodge No 1604 which was (and still is) based in London. One of our team has yet to follow up with the Lodge. John Wilkie was commissioned on 20 December 1914 and he crossed to France from Southampton on 16 February 1915 and joined the 1st Battalion Leinster Regiment. He died of wounds on 9th April 1915 from wounds sustained on 14th March in action at Ypres. He is buried in the Ypres Town Cemetery Annexe Extension. He died of his wounds in the 81st Field Ambulance on 9 April 1915. The 14th and 15th March found the 1st Leinster’s in action at St. Eloi, South of Ypres. The History of the Prince of Wales Leinster Regiment compiled and edited by Lieutenant Colonel Frederick Ernest Whitten C.M.G, Late of the Regiment, notes on page 122 : “The Enemy in front had sniping well organised as we were soon to learn of the deaths of Lieutenant Wilkie and Captain Bates” Wilkie and Bates were both wounded by snipers and died later when at the Field Ambulance.

Masonic :

TypeLodge Name and No.Province/District :
Mother : Wanderers No. 1604 E.C.London

11th January 1910
8th February 1910
8th March 1910

Source :

The project globally acknowledges the following as sources of information for research across the whole database:

Additional Source:

Last Updated: 2017-06-17 08:35:28