Captain Ronald Wilkinson, Royal Army Ordnance Corps
Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1973, Captain Ronald Wilkinson, Royal Army Ordnance Corps, died from injuries received six days earlier when an IRA bomb exploded as he inspected it.
He was an Army Technical Officer with the Inspection and Disposal Unit, and had been called out to inspect a suspicious object on Highfield Road in Edgbaston - a postman had been on his rounds when he noticed a container covered in polythene and alerted the police. A West Midlands Police detective inspector was present when Captain Wilkinson arrived, and he later gave this account: “It looked like a tin can. The captain was due to go on holiday with his wife that day. He didn’t have all his equipment with him. But he went over, had a look and said ‘Doesn’t look much like a bomb’. I was there at the time. He got some string, tied it to the canister, walked away and pulled it. The can tipped over and nothing happened, so he walked over to it. Next thing it exploded into a great fireball. He was burned to a cinder.”
Captain Wilkinson endured a five-hour operation but sadly his injuries were too severe for him to survive. He was buried with full military honours following a service at St. Barbara’s Church, Deepcut. Captain John Vernon, the garrison padre, spoke at the service, saying that Captain Wilkinson “died protecting what is good in the fabric of our society. He was a gallant and dedicated man.”
Ronald, from Noreton-on-Legg near Hereford, was 30 years old and married.