Wilfred was the third of eight children born to his parents Henry and Rose Bucknell of Chelmsford, Essex, England. He attended Maldon Grammar School in Essex. The Bucknell family migrated to Australia at the end of 1910 and were living on a farm at Nullamanna, near Inverell when Wilfred enlisted in January 1916.
He was twenty two years old when he joined other recruits forming the First Contingent of The Kurrajongs who left Inverell by train on 12 January 1916. At Armidale NSW he became a member of the 33rd Battalion which sailed from Australia in May 1916. Further training was undertaken at Salisbury Plain, England before the Battalion moved to France in November. Wilfred was wounded in the shoulder in May 1917 however after receiving treatment he eventually returned to his unit. Just two weeks later he was one of several Kurrajong men Killed in Action on 6 June 1917 during the Battle for Messines Ridge. His few remaining personal effects were eventually returned to his parents.
Private Wilfred Bucknell has no known grave. His name is inscribed on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Belgium. Locally his name is recorded on the Nullamanna and Inverell Honor Rolls and the Cenotaph. In 1919 he was one of the 215 men for whom a memorial tree was planted in Kurrajong Parade, Inverell.