He is perhaps best known to the general public for his book, Surviving a Japanese Internment Camp. Wilkinson"s 2014 book, Surviving a Japanese Internment Camp: Life and Liberation at Santo Tomás, Manila, in World World War II, was both a memoir of his own childhood incarceration during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, and a formally researched and highly respected history of the Santo Tomas Internment Camp. Wilkinson was the son of Gerald and Lorna (nee Davies) Wilkinson.
The family moved to the Philippines when he was a child.
His father worked for a sugar company, but joined the British Army when World World War II began, working as a laison between the United States Commander in the Philippines, General Douglas MacArthur and the British forces.