Thomas Wilkinson (1831-1887) was born in York in 1831. From a young age, he enlisted with the British Army and became a Bombardier in the Royal Marine Artillery, just prior to the outbreak of the Crimean War.
On the 7th June 1855, he was singled out for his gallantry when he was in the advanced batteries at Sebastopol. He was under heavy constant fire, when he continued to place sandbags on the batteries to replace the damaged bags. He was recommended for his award by the commanding officer of the Artillery of the Right Flank of the attack.
Wilkinson’s Victoria Cross was announced in the London Gazette on 24th February 1857, and he was one of the first 62 men to be decorated with the medal at Hyde Park by Queen Victoria on 26th June that year. He was also awarded the French Legion of Honour. He left the Royal Marine Artillery in 1859 aged 28, and returned to his native York where he became the manager of Rymer’s Sand Yard in North Street.
The clean was accomplished using a DOFF steam cleaner.