Crowther-Wilkinson Family

Jonathan Crowther, the son of Jonathan Crowther, the Methodist Preacher, was a newspaper writer for the London Times. One of his children was George William Crowther, who was born in 1845 in Birmingham, England, and died on March 11, 1914  at 11 Drummond Road in Birmingham.

Terry Barcock, husband of George William's great granddaughter Linda Wilkinson, contributed the following which is used with permission.

George's surname on his marriage certificate is Wilkinson, but on each of his sons' birth certificates it is Crowther Wilkinson. One of the stories about the origin of the name was that George joined the armed forces, which the Crowther family did not consider a respectable occupation, so they prevailed upon him to change his name.

The Royal Marines Artillery Description Book shows him as a coach-maker born in Yardley, Birmingham and aged 19 and six months on attestation 1 Nov 1860 when he enlisted at Wolverhampton. (The Attestation Paper itself has not survived.) This would put his birth about May 1841, but the 1851 census showing him as 6 years old is consistent with his being born shortly before his christening on 24 Jan 1845. Unless the RMA record has been misread or mis-transcribed, he may have deliberately added 4 years to his age. This might indicate a 15-year-old who was especially keen to leave home which would lead us to speculate as to whether he incurred his family's disapproval by joining the Marines, or whether he joined because he was already under their censure.

His Service Record offers no clues as to why the name 'Wilkinson' was selected. Perhaps it was the name of an employer with whom he might have lodged while learning Carriage Building; perhaps there was some family connection: certainly Wilkinsons had lived among the Crowthers around Halifax in West Yorkshire for many generations and there had been several marriages.

He was a sergeant in 1881 as this census entry shows.  Quite why he was in Wales is not known - the Royal Marines Artillery were chiefly deployed on the south coast and at a garrison in Birmingham.

4 Park Hill Terrace Census Place: Bangor, Caernarvon, Wales
Source: FHL Film 1342339 PRO Ref RG11 Piece 5575 Folio 82 Page 39
                       Age    Marr  Sex   Birthplace           Relation  Occupation
George W. Wilkinson    38     M     M     Birmingham, Warwick  Head      Sgt RMA Drill Instructor
Maria Wilkinson        30     M     F     Reading, Berkshire   Wife
George H.C. Wilkinson 2 Months      M     Bangor, Caernarvon

He married Maria Frederica Quelch Pullen, the  daughter of a Wiltshire cordwainer, in October 1877 at St James Church in Portsea which served as the Regimental chapel. His father presumably was not present as his name is recorded on the marriage certificate as Jonathan Wilkinson (rather than Crowther), Times Correspondent. By the time of his son Frank's birth in 1887, he had attained his final rank of Sergeant-Major. Unfortunately Maria died from "natural labour exhaustion and syncope" (faints leading to high blood pressure) resulting from this birth. Whether this led George to end his military career is not known as the exact date of his discharge has not been found, but the 1891 census show him as a "Master Innkeeper" in Bangor.

Wilkinson-Crowther family about 1905 Their children George Harry (1879-1930), Herbert,  (1884-1918), Ernest,  (>1885-~1916) and Frank Pullen,  (1887-1973) are all in this photograph, taken about 1905. Click on the photograph to enlarge it. 
George's second marriage was to Ellen Mary Jones, the daughter of a banker, at Bangor in 1895. She died at Bryn Tyrch, a Hotel which they ran in Capel Curig near Bangor in 1906 and was the mother of Victor Lyndhurst Crowther-Wilkinson (1896-1968), the youngest in the photograph.


George Harry Crowther-Wilkinson

George's eldest son, left in the photograph, also had a long and distinguished military career. He was born on 19 Feb 1879 at  Bangor, Caernarvon, N. Wales and died 19 May 1930 at Portland, Dorset.

At the time of his marriage in 1909, he was a bombardier in the Royal Garrison Artillery stationed at the Verne Citadel, Portland. He had served in India, Egypt and Turkey. In a brief civilian interval from 1910 to 1913, he was Chief Clerk for the Wolsely Motor Company, living at Green Lane, Bordesly. When he first returned to the army, the company continued to pay his salary until 1923 when he came out of the army.  Having added another 10 years to his earlier service, he retired as a Regimental Sergeant-Major in 1923. He had pensions for long service and disability after suffering deafness from a shell at Gallipoli. 

There is a two year discrepancy in his age on the death certificate, which said he was 51 years old. He died of a cerebral hemorrhage.

Herbert Crowther Wilkinson

Gunner Wilkinson (No.30282), No. 17 Company RGA qualified as a signaling specialist 27th Nov 1909 at Alderney, Channels Islands. In WW1, he was awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre which he never saw as he was killed in action shortly afterwards. His medals, including the Croix de Guerre and Long Service and Good Conduct Medal are held by Mr. William Crowther-Wilkinson in Australia. Herbert was killed four days before WWI ended on November 11, 1918. Herbert is in the photo with his father and brothers.

Frank Pullen Crowther-Wilkinson

He was a sergeant in the Royal Garrison Artillery, aged 30, when he married Fanny Bunn at Aston, Birmingham in 1918. They emigrated. to Australia on the SS Balranald, from Tilbury, London on the 9th of July 1925, arriving at Port Adelaide, South Australia on 19th Aug 1925. In August 2002 their six sons were all still living in Australia. Their descendants include journalists and broadcasters, maintaining the family's literary heritage of at least six generations.

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