25th January 1915

Private George Brotherton was one of 86 men from the Coldstream Guards to die on 25th January 1915, 68 of whom (including George) are commemorated at Le Touret Memorial, between Bethune and Armentieres in the Pas de Calais, France.

According to Soldiers Died in the Great War, George served with the 1st Battalion and was born in Evesham, lived in Castle Bromwich, and enlisted in Birmingham. It looks as if he must have moved to Castle Bromwich between 1911 and 1915, as he appears on the 1911 census living at 55 Warren Road, Washwood Heath, Saltley with his parents, Samuel and Martha, and his six siblings. He was listed as aged 18, and recorded as being a soldier in the Coldstream Guards. His medal index card shows that he entered a Theatre of War on 13th August 1914.

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1st January 1915

The first of the 82 casualties from the Solihull area to die in 1915 was Royal Naval Chaplain, Rev. George Brooke Robinson, who died on New Year’s Day 1915 whilst serving on H.M.S. Formidable. This was the first British battleship to be sunk in the First World War. Rev. Robinson was the most senior Royal Navy chaplain to die in the war, and the fourth of 19 navy chaplains to be die on active service 1914-1919.

Born in Bombay, India on 6th April 1870, George Brooke Robinson appears on the 1881 census, aged 10, at boarding school in Brighton. By 1891, he was living in Cambridge with his widowed mother, Agnes. He studied at Pembroke College, Cambridge, obtaining a B.A. in 1894, and an M.A. in 1898. He was ordained as a Deacon in December 1895 at Worcester Cathedral, and served as curate at Solihull 1895-97. Traditionally, the curate at St Alphege took charge of the Mission Church at Catherine-de-Barnes, which is why his name appears on the village war memorial there. Unusually, the war memorial at Catherine-de-Barnes takes the form of a brass plaque on an oak font.

Image of Catherine-de-Barnes memorial font
George Brooke Robinson’s name on the Catherine-de-Barnes war memorial

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