Wilberforce, William Robert Sargent


Third and youngest son of the Right Reverend Ernest Roland Wilberforce, former Bishop of Chichester, of 17 Ecclestone Square, London. His mother was Emily Henrietta, only daughter of the Very Reverend George Connor, Dean of Windsor and Domestic Chaplain to Queen Victoria.   His brother Arthur Roland George Wilberforce also came to Winchester (E 1891-1896). He was born at Benwell Tower, Northumberland and before entering Morshead’s  was at Summerfields. He became a House Prefect and played in Commoner VIs in 1910 and 1st Soccer XI in 1911. He won Junior Steeplechase that year and was fine horseman. On leaving school he went to Canada to learn practical farming and returned home in 1913 to study land agency.

When war was declared he volunteered at once, and was gazetted to 7th Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps. He went to France in 1915 and in January 1916 he was given a commission in the Regular Army and was attached soon after to the Royal Flying Corps.

On obtaining his pilot’s certificate he went to Egypt and Palestine, where he served for a year, being present at the First Battle of Gaza. He was awarded the M.C. for attacking single-handedly a hostile bombing squadron and destroying one aircraft. Illness compelled him to return home in 1917 and on his recovery he was appointed an instructor and squadron commander at the Central Flying School, Upavon. He was killed while test flying a new aircraft on 2nd June 1918. He is buried near the tower of the old church of St John the Baptist, Shedfield, Botley, Hampshire.

War: World War 1

  • Surname: Wilberforce
  • Forenames or initials: Robert Sargent
  • House: E
  • Years in School: 1907-1911
  • Rank: Captain
  • Regiment: Royal Air Force
  • Date of Birth: 12th June 1893
  • Date of Death: 2nd June 1918
  • How Died: Killed in flying accident
  • Location in War Cloister: Outer E3
  • Decoration: MC
  • Burial Site: SHEDFIELD CHURCH, BOTLEY, HAMPSHIRE