Evelyn Mary Penn 'Mary' Wilks was a nurse with the Essex Red Cross who died from illness at her parents' home in Widford in March 1945. One of her brothers also lost his life during the war.
Evelyn was born in Yorkshire in 1917, the daughter of the auctioneer Gilbert Wilks (1884-1949) and Phyllis Evelyn Wilks (nee Balck) (1891-1977). Her parents had married in London in 1913.
Evelyn's siblings were Geoffrey John Wilks (1914-1943), Anthony Gilbert Wilks (1915-1943), and Dorothy Maud Wilks (born 1920).
During the First World War Gilbert Wilks served as a Major in the 5th Battalion of the Essex Regiment and after the war ran the Chelmsford auctioneers, valuers and estate agents business Fred Taylor & Co., initially in partnership with Albert Frederick White, and alone after White's retirement in 1933.
Evelyn Mary Penn WILKS, Commandant, Hillingdon Auxiliary Hospital
Died from illness at Widford Road, Chelmsford. Aged 28
During the Second World War Gilbert Wilks led the preliminary organisation of the 1st Chelmsford Group Local Defence Volunteers (later the Home Guard) and subsequently led Number 6 Battalion, Essex Home Guard, which covered the town area (Borough) of Chelmsford.
In 1943 her brother died in India while serving with the Royal Engineers.
On 23rd March 1945 Evelyn died at her parents' home, Mount Cottage, in Widford. Her death came after a short illness which she had seemed to be recovering from before her condition deteriorated. She was aged 28 and Commandant of the Hillingdon Auxiliary Hospital near Harlow, having joined the Essex Red Cross in June 1943.
Evelyn was cremated at the City of London Crematorium on 27th March 1945 and was interred at St. Mary’s Church in Widford where she is commemorated on the village’s war memorial. Her father's ashes were added to the grave when he died in 1949.