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Mark’s History: The Kirkstall Road soldier who died in Afghan heat

If you were to stand outside the reception of Yorkshire Television on Kirkstall Road and rewind the clock a hundred years you would be in the living room of James and Annie Wilkinson of 10 Townend Street, writes Mark Stevenson.

Their son John was in the army, based in India, and although in 1920 the fight for freedom may have stopped in Europe it had not stopped elsewhere in the world.

The family grave in New Wortley Cemetery. Photo: Mark Stevenson

Afghanistan took exception to British Rule of their country and started the Third Anglo-Afghan War, which ended in Afghanistan gaining its independence.

Only a few hundred British troops died in the war but hundreds more died of disease and the heat.

One of those was James and Annie’s son John.

He died of heatstroke on the 22nd July 1920 and is buried at the Peshawar British Cemetery, then in India but now in Pakistan. His name is on the India Gate War Memorial in New Dehli. 

The family grave can be found in New Wortley Cemetery.

Read more from the Mark’s History column here.


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