Cecil Edward Wilkins, Royal Navy Commander

The story behind another of my old photos.

This lovely military cabinet card really took my eye as this chap looked so young, and on the back a name and a date ! So lucky !
Here’s what I have found out so far..
Cecil Edward Wilkins was born on 3rd October 1886 in Surrey, third child to parents George Wilkins born about 1847 in Warminster, Wiltshire and Jessie ( Sims Hodgson) born about 1848 in Peckham, London. George and Jessie had married in October Q 1879 in Woolwich, London. 
Cecil had an older sister Evelyn, and older brother George.
Father George died in Crawford Gardens, Margate in the first week of January 1909, but buried in Walton on Thames, he was 62 and Mum Jessie died on 26 April 1932 in Walton on Thames, Surrey, she was 83. This is her will below…

A nice tidy sum left to the two remaining children…..It seems they were a fairly well off family, Father George who was one of six children, came from Warminster in Wiltshire, where his father was a Bank Manager. So he must have realised early in life that money was the business to be in…
Here are the census records for the family…..

1881 census
1891 census
1901 census

 I was unable to find the 1911 census for mother Jessie on Ancestry but luckily Find My Past came up trumps, its very badly damaged but still good to see.
 
Cecil’s 1911 census presented a mystery to me..see below..A patient at 15 Welbeck Stree, London. Matron was Clara Nelson Smith..???

Thank goodness for google !
It was called the Welbeck Clinic, a very expensive and discreet clinic, the matron Clara Nelson Smith was awarded the Royal Victorian Order after a member of the royal family had died in the Welbeck nursing home. The cause of his death was unknown and his will was sealed, creating a precedent for future royal wills. Evidently the matron had been rewarded for her discretion.
The royal in question was Prince Francis of Teck, better known as Frank, one of four children of the Duke and Duchess of Teck. Story below, from Marylebone Lives book p 223-7..click on link…
Prince Francis of Teck..5th Nov 1910 Death
I also found another very fascinating story concerning the clinic, see link below…it was the perfect place for secret births aswell as deaths….
Micheal Holroyd, The Guardian, story 
 I would imagine there are many many more secrets that were held by Clara Nelson Smith..she lived to the age of 107 ! 
I have no idea why our man Cecil was there, but it must have been quite some place as there were only 8 patients…Luxury I imagine…
I have found that Cecil married Marjorie Lucy Barrett in 1913 on the Isle of Wight, her family were also well to do..In the 1911 census they are listed, Alfred and Lucy Barrett, with two daughters (including Marjorie aged 20), and servants, are at Old Charlton, Baring Road, Cowes.
I have found one child from the marriage Micheal Humphrey Wilkins born in Kensington, London in 2nd Q 1917.
I found that Son Micheal went to New York in 1947 on the Queen Elizabeth, aged 30, listed as married and a company director being able to speak French and English. Was it just a business trip? he had no-one travelling with him.
I have found one probable marriage for son Micheal to a  Rachel Grotrian in 1941 in Ripon, Yorkshire where she lived, but then I found she married someone else in 1949 using her maiden name, so did they divorce or maybe Micheal stayed in the USA and Rachel simply remarried bigamously?
Back to Cecil Edward Wilkins..He sadly died of pneumonia in Brindisi, Puglia, Italy, where he is buried in the Bari War Cemetery, Bari, Provincia di Bari, Puglia, Italy. Plot 15..G.37.
Information on the CWGC website. Very tragic to have died so young.
On the back of the photo Cabinet card it says 24th May 1901 (He was just 15) and had enlisted earlier in that month on the 15th May. It seems that HMS Britannia was used for training cadets like Cecil, so that’s why its written on the back of the Cabinet Card. 
His record of service is at TNA online.
I found this info too…
At the time of his death acting Commander Cecil Edward Wilkins, Royal Navy, H.M.S. Lowestoft. 
Sub-Lt. Cecil E. Wilkins is recorded as serving on H.M.S. Dee in 1908.
He was Minesweeping on HMS Falmouth in August 1916 and awarded a silver medal.

 Cecil has a memorial stone on the Isle of Wight……

Memorial stone for Cecil with his wife Marjorie’s family in St Mildred’s Churchyard, Whippingham, Isle of Wight.Commander Cecil Edward Wilkins, Royal Navy, H.M.S. Lowestoft. 
Sub-Lt. Cecil E. Wilkins is recorded as serving on H.M.S. Dee in 1908.
These other two Cabinet cards I bought from the same seller at the time, but she didn’t know whether they came from the same source..
They look very similar to Cecil I think ..Him or even his brother George ? 
What do you think ??

As usual with me while I was researching Cecil, there was such a lot of other information that I could have written about, and so many other paths to go down….some stories could be never ending…
Till next time then………………

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