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watkinsThe Express & Star of 7 September 1918 tells the story of the brave self-sacrifice of a Private Watkins, of 2 Goldthorn Hill, Wolverhampton. At the age of only 18, he was lying in hospital with trench fever, when he offered a pint of his blood to save the life of a sergeant in the next bed. Unfortunately his sacrifice was made in vain. He later had three weeks’ leave, when his mother thought he looked very pale, but he had not told her about his act of heroism. Before he returned to France, however, he was presented with a silver wristlet watch and a wallet, subscribed for by the members of the Bilston Brotherhood.

This brave man was George Watkins. He was born in Birmingham on 24 September 1899, the son of George and Florence Watkins. His siblings were Alfred, Leonard, William, Richard and Florence. In 1911, the family were living in Carmarthenshire, in Wales. George enlisted in the West Yorkshire Regiment (number 53758) in September 1917, when his trade was farm labourer.  By this date, his address was at Goldthorn Hill, Wolverhampton. Unfortunately, not long after returning to France, on 17 September 1918, he himself died of pneumonia. He is remembered at the St Sever Cemetery Extension, as well as in St Luke’s Church in Blakenhall.

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