King’s Sergeant John A. Wilkinson


(from the Guelph Mercury newspaper for Friday May 16th 1947.)



King’s Sergeant John A. Wilkinson, 72, veteran of the Boer War, and possessor of one of the most colourful military records in Canada, died yesterday at his residence, 32 Mont Street, Guelph.  Mr. Wilkinson was the Wellington County auditor for 25 years until illness prevented him from carrying on.  He had formerly served as councillor and Reeve of Puslinch Township from 1905 to 1911, and as auditor for both Puslinch and Nassagaweya Townships.


Born in Puslinch, the son of Scottish parents, he had lived on the farm as a boy, and when 15 years old enlisted with the “A” Battery, First Brigade Field Artillery, Guelph.


His ability as an artilleryman won him a place on the Canadian Artillery Team representing Canada at the British Artillery Competitions in 1896.  The Canadian team captured the Queen’s Prize by defeating all the competing teams from all parts of the British Empire.


Upon the outbreak of the South African War in 1899, he enlisted for active service with the Canadian Mounted Rifles, sailing for Durban in January 1900.  During the war, he saw service in the Orange Free State, Cape Colony, and the Transvaal.  In the Battle of Hart’s River, he suffered the loss of his right arm and right eye from flying shell.  Doctors were amazed at his recovery as he had thirty-eight bullet wounds and the arm had been amputated in a bell tent under the light of two lanterns, 98 miles from a base hospital, and without any facilities for heating water.  He had lain on the ground for eight days before being removed to the base hospital.


In 1902, he was recommended by Lord Kitchener to be made a King’s Sergeant, and was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.  He had the honour to be presented to Queen Victoria, King Edward VII, Queen Alexandra, also King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II, on their visit to Guelph in 1939.


He was married in 1909 to Hattie M. Bailey of Galt, a descendent of the Bailey family, Eramosa Township pioneers.  He was a member of St. George’s Anglican Church.  He was also a member of the Masonic Order, Waverly Lodge A.F. & A.M. (Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Scotland), and of the Scottish Rite of Canada.



◄ End of file ►