The Bathford Society

Lily Wilkinson - Family Details

I met Mrs L. Coughlan from Rainham, Essex, when she and her husband visited Bathford in search of details about her family history following the death of her mother aged 84 in 1992.

Mrs Coughlan's mother, Mrs Lily Wilkinson, had been evacuated from the East End of London at the start of the war (with two small children) as an expectant mother. Lady Skrine of Warleigh Manor housed and cared for a group of mothers and young children.

In January 1940, Mrs Wilkinson gave birth to a baby girl at the convalescent home Coombe Down (later Claverton Down hospital and this was demolished about 2 years ago). The baby was frail and had lung trouble. She was admitted to Royal United Hospital Bath, and baptized Janet Wilkinson by the local vicar of Weston church and died in March 1940. Mrs Coughlan knew that Lady Skrine arranged the funeral for the baby and wondered if there were any records in St Swithun's church Bathford, Our churchyard records showed a Janet Wilkinson was buried in grave plot 210 - we found this to be a Skrine family grave, tho' the headstone is very decayed - it would seem to have been the baby's burial place. The records also noted "grave now full". (Later examination of records suffest that J Wilkinson was buried in plot 211 - an unmarked grave of Winifred Jones). I enclose copied of the birth and death certificates which I obtained for Mrs. Coughlan, helping her piece together the sad story of her baby sister's short life in the bleak winter of 1940. She obtained the baptism record from Taunton Record Office. Her brother is writing to me from Kuwait if he has further information. Mrs Coughlan has now given me permission to pass on all these details which may help in researching the experiences of evacuees who came to Bath.

Source: Mrs L. Coughlan - researched by Christine Holmes
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