Born: 7th April 1871, at South Yarra, Victoria, Australia.
Died: 6th January 1900; age: 28; KiA at Suffolk Hill, Colesberg, Northern Cape, South Africa.
Residence: 43, Earl’s Court Square, London.
Francis passed out of the Royal Military College, Sandhurst with Honours, and entered the Suffolk Regiment 18th May 1892, as a Second Lieutenant.
Promoted to Lieutenant – 19th June 1895.
Promoted to Captain – August 1899.
Francis became Adjutant of his Battalion – 10th January 1899. He was fluent in German, Italian and French.
Rank: Captain and Adjutant.
Regiment: Suffolk Regiment, 1st Battalion, South Africa Field Force.
Clasp Awarded: Cape Colony.
1891 43, Earl’s Court Square, London.
Francis was 19 years old and living with his parents & sisters.
Alfred Wilkins, 57, a Gentleman – retired Merchant, born Chelsea, London.
Mary Ann Wilson Wilkins (nee Cowle), 52, born Hobart, Tasmania.
Mary Louisa Arundel Wilkins, 23, born South Yarra.
Annie Beatrice Cowle Wilkins, 22, born South Yarra.
Francis’s mother, Mary Ann Wilson Wilkins died July 1899, at 43, Earl’s Court Square, London.
Francis was educated at Westminster School as a ‘Town Boy’ entered 28th September 1883 (G) – left July 1888, Headmaster William Gunion Rutherford, and at Paris, France. He passed into the Royal Military Academy, at Sandhurst, at the head of the list.
Probate to Mary Louisa Arundel Wilkins – sister.
One of the notable Battles with a large loss of Suffolk life was the “Battle of Suffolk hill” at Colesberg, Northern Cape 5th- 6th January 1900. The hill was originally called Red or Grassy Hill. The Suffolk regiment was ordered to make a night attack on a Boer position on the heights, four companies, 354 of all ranks, set out at midnight under the command of Col. Watson. The Suffolks were met by a storm of bullets. The Colonel was amongst the first to fall, and the party later retired with 11 officers and 150+ men killed, wounded or captured.