William Alexander Camac Wilkinson
December 06, 1892, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
September 19, 1983, Storrington, Sussex, (aged 90y 287d)
Right hand bat
Right arm slow
Eton College; Oxford University
Colonel William Alexander Wilkinson CAMAC, DSO, MC, GM, was a soldier of great gallantry in two wars and a cricketer who overcame a serious handicap to become one of the most consistent batsmen of his day in a high class of club cricket and indeed, when the opportunity offered, in first-class cricket. A legendary character whose outspokenness knew no close season, he was no respecter of persons; yet he is seldom mentioned by anyone who knew him without genuine affection. Leaving Eton too young to have been in the XI and finishing his school education in Australia, where his father, an old Middlesex cricketer, was in practice as a doctor, he went up to Oxford and got his Blue in his third year, 1913, largely on the strength of an innings of 129 in an hour and a half against MCC, in which, Wisden says, he hit with delightful freedom all round the wicket. In 1914 he had a poor season and lost his place. He had also represented Oxford twice in the hurdles. In the war he was shot through the right hand and narrowly avoided amputation. As it was, though he could put his hand on the bat it had little strength. His beautiful cutting, however, remained as much a feature of his play as his skill on the leg. Despite his handicap he was not a slow scorer. Almost as remarkable as his batting was his fielding. Though much of the work on his right side had to be done back-handed by his left hand, he was never reckoned a liability in the field.
For years he was a regular member of the Army side, which he often captained, and most of his other cricket was played for the Household Brigade, Eton Ramblers, I Zingari, Harlequins, Free Foresters and other clubs. He never played for a first-class county, though he appeared for Sussex II before the Great War, but he was constantly to be found in first-class matches for MCC or Free Foresters and played too in the Folkestone Festival and for the Gentlemen at The Oval. His scoring in these matches right up to 1939 suggested that he would not have been out of place in county cricket. More solid evidence was provided when he went as a member of A. C. MacLaren's side to Australia and New Zealand in 1922-23. On this tour he scored 689 runs with an average of 28.70, his highest score being 102 against Canterbury. On this occasion he added 282 with A. P. F. Chapman in two and a quarter hours. Even after the Second World War he continued to make runs in club cricket and he himself believed that the century which he made in his last innings was the 100th of his career. In any case it was a fitting finale to the career of a brave and determined man.
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack
Batting & Fielding
Debut/Last Matches - Player