CWG: Sapper Francis Hawkins

Bridgwater (Wembdon)

Francis Ralph Hawkins was born in Somerset in March 1895 and was one of twelve children to Charles and Jane Hawkins. Charles was a police sergeant and the family lived in Bishop’s Lydeard, a village to the west of Taunton.

By the time of the 1911 census, Charles had retired from police work, and was operating as a licenced victualler in nearby Bridgwater. While Jane was supporting her husband running the business, Francis was apprenticed to a local clothier.

When war broke out, Francis was quick to enlist – he joined the Royal Engineers, and was appointed a Sapper. He wasn’t with the company for that long, however, as by February he had been admitted to the Red Cross Hospital in Christchurch, Dorset, with a fever.

Sadly, he was not to recover; Sapper Hawkins passed away from spinal meningitis on 17th February 1915. He was just 19 years of age.

Francis Ralph Hawkins lies at rest in the Wembdon Road Cemetery, Bridgwater.

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