Once a Fusilier always a Fusilier
Fusilier James Wilkinson
2nd Bn The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers

Fusilier James Wilkinson, from Whitefield, Manchester, joined the 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (RRF) upon completion of Phase 2 Training in May 2011. Originally posted to C Company 2 RRF, he volunteered for Fire Support Company and joined Fire Support Group (FSG(C)) in July 2011. He completed the FSG Cadre in October 2011 with an exemplary pass. He was deployed on his first Battalion level exercise, Ex ASKARI THUNDER, in Kenya with the 2 RRF Battle Group when he was tragically killed in a training incident on the 26th November 2011.

James was one of those unique individuals, liked and admired by all; he was happy, enthusiastic and immensely popular across all ranks. Always smiling, he genuinely loved the Army and is warmly remembered by his friends. He was highly regarded for his willingness to work hard and having completed his own duties he routinely volunteered to help others. He had made a distinctly positive impression as a young man full of life and eager to do the right thing. Exceptionally fit he relished the physical challenges of his chosen trade. Rarely without a smile, even in the midst of the most arduous challenges, he was often heard cracking a joke to lighten the mood. An avid Manchester United supporter, he was a highly capable footballer with aspirations to play for the Battalion Football Team.

As a FSG operator he had enthusiastically embraced his new role and was considered a consummate professional, extremely capable, with obvious long-term potential. He demonstrated a thirst for knowledge and an eagerness to learn from his fellow soldiers. He had an inquisitive mind and a determination to progress. From the outset, he set an example for others to follow. An exceptionally hard worker he always gave his best and was never found wanting.

Recently married, James was a devoted husband and it was obvious to all that he deeply loved his wife (Sarah). James often spoke about his wife, their future daughter, his step son and their future plans together.

Fusilier James Wilkinson embodied the traditions of the Regiment and his soldiering was an inspiration for all to follow. This tragic event and the loss of James have been felt deeply throughout the Battalion and the Regiment and the thoughts and prayers of all Fusiliers are with his family. He will be forever remembered.

Fusilier Wilkinson's family paid tribute to him and said:
"Being in the Army was in James blood - it was what he had always wanted to do, serve his country just as his dad Rob had done before him.

Anybody who knew James had the utmost respect for him - he was simply treasured by all that knew and loved him.

His wife Sarah is taking hope from the part of James which will live on in their baby girl, who is due to be born in February 2012.

The love that James' family and friends will always have for him will never end and precious memories never be forgotten."

Lieutenant Colonel Mike Butterwick, Commanding Officer of the 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers said:

"Fusilier James Wilkinson was the epitome of a Fusilier. He was robust, fit and was dedicated to his profession. Even though he had only been with us for a relatively short time he had already made his mark on the Battalion. His personality was infectious and his professionalism was absolute. He had already been identified as a potential future leader and would have attended a fire team commander's course in 2012. I am sure this would have been but the first step on his career ladder. Starting in C Company he volunteered to become a member of the Battalion's Fire Support Groups. In Kenya he showed that he had mastered his new role. Determined, keen and always ready to take the initiative his performance on the exercise was simply outstanding."

He was immensely popular and everyone who knew him knew how much he loved his young wife Sarah and her son Connor. He was a wonderful role model for Connor. Our thoughts and prayers are with Sarah and his parents Rob and Jan at this tragic time."

"The Battalion has been rocked by James' death and a gaping hole has been left in his Fire Support Group. James was a true Fusilier and we will always remember him."

"Once a Fusilier - Always a Fusilier."

Fusilier Fuad Madatov (2 Platoon, A Company, 2RRF) said:
"James was a really good friend to me he was one of the first people I got to know at the start of my army career. He was a very reliable person who loved his job and he was an excellent soldier. He was always a funny guy to be around and we had a lot of banter with each other. Often his comebacks would make no sense which made the banter even funnier. He was a very responsible young man who took on the responsibilities of his family well. He always had time for everyone, he would listen and give you good advice if you had a problem. I will miss him, miss his humour and his company, I will especially miss him as a person and as a great friend. I will miss you Wilko and never forget about you. Once a Fusilier always a Fusilier."

Fusilier James Bellis (1 Platoon, A Company, 2RRF) said:
"Whilst in training at Catterick with James despite some of the hard times he never let it show and always had a smile on his face. James always wanted to do everything right, never wanting to let himself or the Section down, and he never did. When leave came around he was always talking about his wife and family and how much he was looking forward to seeing them. When back from leave he then would not stop talking about them and how much he had enjoyed seeing them. Myself and James would always talk about football (even though he was a huge Man United fan) and I remember how devastated he was after the Manchester Derby. He loved the Army and that showed everyday in training and at Battalion. The Army will miss him as a model professional soldier but those who knew him will miss him as a loyal friend who was always there for us. My thoughts go out to all his family and friends who should know that everyone in Battalion is thinking of them. James 'Wilko' Wilkinson, Once a Fusilier always a Fusilier."

Fusilier Chris Shilson (3 Platoon, A Company) said:
"First time I met Wilko it was at the Fusiliers Look-at-Life course. He was pretty quiet and I didn't really get to know him properly until we started training and were in the same Platoon. As the weeks went on he went from being the quiet lad I first met to a lad we all enjoyed being around as whenever I saw him, no matter how bad things were, he was always smiling. I grew to respect Wilko as a soldier but more so as a friend and someone I could rely on if I needed him. He used to make me laugh when I'd banter him for something and he'd respond with the worst possible comeback. The last time I saw Wilko he was telling me how much he was looking forward to seeing his little girl for the first time and my thoughts are with her now. He will be sadly missed by both family and friends and I'll see you in the next life mate."

Fusilier Jordan Durham (3 Platoon, A Company) said:
"Wilko, throughout the time I knew him never ceased to surprise me. As training progressed he came out of his shell more and more and suddenly this shy lad that never spoke turned out to be a great soldier and an even better friend. Being one of the most trustworthy and easy going guys in our training platoon he easily made friends. When he found his feet he quickly surpassed his peers in knowledge, spirit and mind in a job he dreamed of doing and you could see he clearly loved. He was one of the best recruits to come out of training and I was more than happy that we were going to the same Battalion. We always said we'd have each others backs when things went sour. Out of camp Wilko was one of my best mates and along with our fond love of drink he never ceased to make me laugh, through his dire ability to dance and his funny stories. He was always great company to have around. My only regret in the time I knew Wilko was not spending more time with him in Battalion. He left a huge imprint on the lives of the people he encountered and will always be remembered as a loving family man and an amazing friend. R.I.P Skitzy mate, gone but never forgotten."

Just some of the messages that have been left

Emma Walsh R.I.P. James, love and prayers go to James's wife Sarah, all his extended family and friends and the lads he served with. OAFAAF. Xx
28 November at 12:14

Nigel Parry RIP james, Gods speed
28 November at 12:17

Stuart Annis R.I.P James.
28 November at 12:17

Martin Bannatyne he Lord bless him and keep him
The Lord make His face to shine up-on him
And be gra-cious un-to him
The Lord lift up His countenance upon him
And give him peace.
28 November at 12:21

Jimmy Carry RIP JAMES
28 November at 12:21

Anthony Pickering R.I.P james yet another soldier dead-at ease jame,s ur job is done
28 November at 12:23

David John Flynn A sad loss
28 November at 12:33

Ann Annis R.I.P james xx
28 November at 12:34

David Spicer RESPECT - R.I.P Fusilier Wilkinson
28 November at 12:34

Malcolm Byrne Rip James Wilkinson
28 November at 12:49

Jim Chilcott Rip James
28 November at 12:50

Jimmy Thorneycroft Rip James Wilkinson
28 November at 12:51

Paul Taz Jeff R.I.P james
28 November at 12:53
John Docker Rip young man
28 November at 12:55 ·

David Weaver R. I. P. Brave fusilier allways in our hearts.
28 November at 12:58 · .
John Debney R.I.P. James our brother at arms and a loss to all of us.
28 November at 13:01 ·.

Wayne Traynor R.I.P james
28 November at 13:04 ·

Jimmy Lufc Townsend RIP James
28 November at 13:04 ·

Sheila Dootson R.I.P James a sad lost thoughts and prayers to all the family x
28 November at 13:04 ·.

Glynn Tobin R.I.P James
28 November at 13:13 ·

Michael Graham R.I.P Fus Wilkinson, thoughts are with your family oafaaf
28 November at 13:17 ·

Steven Fitt Rest easy James from all the fusilier Family
28 November at 13:29 ·

Tony Rostron RIP James.
28 November at 13:33 ·

John-Coco Pop Cave R.I.P James
28 November at 13:34 ·

Paul Mornington RIP young James our thoughts are with Sarah, family, friends and comrades.
28 November at 13:34 ·

Tora Allen RIP xxx
28 November at 13:36 ·

Peter Abbott RIP XXX
28 November at 13:37 ·

Dave Oliver RIP xx
28 November at 13:44 ·

Andy Entwistle r i p james
28 November at 13:44 ·

Stephen Holden God bless u james r.i.p deepest sorrow to his family from ex 1st battalion fus oafaaf
28 November at 13:45 ·

Glyn Jackson Rip
28 November at 13:47 ·

28 November at 14:03 ·.

Mark Warrington RIP James
28 November at 14:28 .

Simon Mills R i p james.
28 November at 14:29

Craig Whitehead R.I.P James, my thoughts are with your wife and family. OAFAAF
28 November at 14:38

Theresa Isherwood R.I.P. James my thoughts and prayers go out to u and your family god bless u all x
28 November at 15:42

Kit Carruthers R I P James
28 November at 15:59

Kimberley Williams-Little RIP Fusilier Wilkinson another great soldier from the finest of Regiments you shall be missed but never forgotten!!
28 November at 16:55

Wayne Hobson R.I.P oafaaf
28 November at 17:02

Craig Highley R.I.P. bro god bless
28 November at 17:07

Paul Davey rip oafaaf
28 November at 17:22 ·

Steve Mcfc Young Rip James you will be sorely missed but never forgotten by your brother in arms past and present. OAFAAF.
28 November at 17:33

Paul Bell Absolutely tragic, Condolences to his family and friends R.I.P
28 November at 17:34

John Rambo Ramsey rip young man oafaaf
28 November at 17:38

Tom Molyneux On behalf of the royal warwickshire regiment /royal warwickshire fusiliers 63/68 I would like to convey our condolences to the family and friends of james
28 November at 17:49 · Like.

Anthony Dale So sad RIP james thought with all family and freinds OAFAAF
28 November at 18:17

Michael Mick McCarthy Sad news. RIP. Thoughts with Mrs Wilkinson and family.
28 November at 19:26

Les Barnes RIP James. Deepest condolences to family and friends. OAFAAF.
28 November at 19:56

Mark Tennant I never knew him, but he was a Fusilier thats all I need to know. R.I.P Fus Wilkinson.
28 November at 20:30

Martin Mashton Ashton RIP James miss you mate we all do
28 November at 21:21

Richard Duckett RIP Once a fusilier always a fusilier
28 November at 21:53

Gary Gannon Heartfelt sympathy to James' family. This just goes to show how hard the training our lads are going through these days is. A death in training for combat is no less tragic than a death in combat, and in some aspects is all the more so.................!
28 November at 22:27

Henry Lynch A sad loss
28 November at 23:36

Mark Lawson I didnt know the young man but our throught s from us in australia are with his wife and family and friends, RIP young man
28 November at 23:44

Carol Smith r.i.p james
29 November at 00:04

Anthony Southern R I P james
29 November at 01:08

Phil Powell Rip James oafaaf my deepest sympathy to the family
29 November at 03:07

Dave Calder Rip james we will rember u fusilers alway live on
29 November at 08:50

Mel Richards RIP James
Wednesday at 17:00

Jill Stuart Watson RIP
Thursday at 18:58

SusanandNigel Kenny Very sad, thoughts to the family
Thursday at 19:02

Leslie Berry R I P
Thursday at 19:04

Lela Korb RIP
Thursday at 19:09

Andy Fulcher RIP
Thursday at 19:53

Philip Ccfc Smith RIP, and comfort to his family, any idea what regiment?
Thursday at 20:19.

Steve Halliwell's photos

To the family of Fusiliers, I add my depest sympath for the loss of one of thier own. A young fusilier has been killed whilst on training in Kenya, To the family and friends of Fusilier James Wilkinson, My thoughts are with you. RIP lad, your Duty is Done with Honour.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Sarah and his parents, Rob and Jan, at this tragic time.
Joe Eastwood Editor Lancashire Fusiliers Website
Omnia Audax XX

As Chairman of Shiny D Branch I would like to add our condolences to the young mans family.
These days we are getting use to reports coming from Afghanistan and other theatres of operation that our young men are fighting, but to hear that a lad so young has been killed on a training exercise seems to hurt just that little bit more.
God Bless Him
Omnia Audax
Jim Worrall

Fus Wilkinson.
A life full of promise with much to
look forwards to, A tragic loss to all.
May we offer our deepest condolences
to Sarah,family & friends.
David & Barbara Platt
Omnia Audax