30th October 1916

Temporary Captain Henry Bardell Adamson, aged 36, a former teacher at Solihull School, died of wounds on 30th October 1916, whilst serving in France with the West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales’s Own).

Born in Foleshill, Warwickshire in 1881, he was the eldest of the three children of Rev. James Bardell Adamson, (Vicar of St Paul’s, Foleshill) and his wife Sarah Sibyl (née Barker). His mother, known as Sibyl, died in 1912 so was spared the knowledge of her son’s death.

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27th October 1916

Daniel Joseph Ferns died of tuberculosis at his home in Dingle Lane, Solihull on 27th October 1916. Having been discharged from the Army on 5th August 1916, the former Sapper isn’t included on the Commonwealth War Graves records. However, he is recorded on Solihull war memorial so was obviously considered by the community to have been a war casualty. A letter dated 27th December 1916 awarding a pension to his widow also indicates that the War Office accepted that his death was as a result of his war service.

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24th October 1916

Second Lieutenant Herbert Denis Phillips was killed in action on 24th October 1916, aged 26. Originally gazetted to the 10th Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment, he was attached to 5th Company Machine Gun Corps (Infantry). He is buried at Stump Road Cemetery, Grandcourt, and is also commemorated on the war memorial at St Margaret’s Church. Olton.

The local newspaper carried a report of his death:

Birmingham Daily Mail 1st December 1916:
Sec. Lieut. H. D. Phillips, S. Staffs R., attached Machine Gun Corps, who, as already reported, was killed in action on October 24th, was the second son of Mr G. F. Phillips, of “Wulverle”, Olton and was 26 years of age. He was managing director of Messrs. H. D. Phillips, Ltd., bulb growers, etc. and was regarded as an expert in the production of the choicest specimen daffodils. He had won many gold and silver medals and certificates, both at the London Horticultural Society’s Exhibition and those of the Midland Daffodil Society. He was also an artist of great ability, and on leaving school he was a student at the Birmingham School of Art, where, at the age of 17 he won the Ten Guineas Exhibition Prize in the open competition for sketching, and having expressed his intention of leaving of leaving the School of Arts, he was offered an additional prize of ten guineas by the president if he would continue, which, however, he declined to do. Immediately after the outbreak of war Sec.-Lieut. H. D. Phillips joined the University O.T.C., and was gazetted from there  to the 10th South Staffs,. subsequently being attached to the Machine Gun Corps. His adjutant, writing to the late officer’s father, states: – “Your son volunteered for the front line in place of a new officer who had just come. He was an extraordinary person in that way, whenever there was any ‘strafe’ on he always wanted to be there.”

23rd October 1916

Two local men died on 23rd October 1916. Private Oscar William Bowen, 3rd Battalion Warwickshire Volunteer Regiment died at home, Ladbrook Park, Tanworth-in-Arden, and Driver Charles Henry Haynes, 31st Bde. Small Arms Ammunition Column, Royal Field Artillery who was killed in Salonika when his dugout collapsed.

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22nd October 1916

Sergeant Hugh James Smith died on 22nd October 1916 serving with the 17th Battalion King’s Royal Rifle Corps.

Although he was born in Bitteswell, Leicestershire, his parents, James and Harriet, were both from Berkswell, and Hugh was brought up in Hampton-in-Arden. Research by Clive Hinsull in Hampton-in-Arden: those who served 1914-18 indicates that Hugh attended George Fentham School in the village before enlisting as a regular soldier in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps. He served in South Africa 1899-1902 and in Somaliland 1902-1904.

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21st October 1916

Private Bernard George Wright, 13th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment, died on 21st October 1916. He was born in Berkswell on 29th May 1879, where his parents Walter Henry and Catherine (née Merry) had been schoolmaster and schoolmistress respectively from at least 1871 until c. 1880. He was baptised at All Saints, Coventry on 29th October 1879. All of his siblings – Arthur Ernest (born 1870), Rose Edith (born 1871), and Frederick Walter (born 6th October 1873) were born in Berkwsell.

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15th October 1916

Private Charles Basey, 9th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment, died of enteric fever on 15th October 1916 and is buried at Salonika (Lembet Road) Military Cemetery, Greece.

Enteric, or typhoid, fever was spread by the ingestion of food or water contaminated by faeces, and was a significant problem given the poor hygiene and lack of sanitation in the trenches. The ever-present vermin and flies ensured that typhoid fever was a common affliction among First World War soldiers.

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14th October 1916

Corporal Horace Leslie Hill died as a result of wounds received whilst riding a motor cycle on active service, having enlisted in the motor cycle section of the Royal Engineers in August 1914. Born in Birmingham just three weeks before the 1891 census was taken, Horace was the third of the six children (four boys, two girls) of parents George Frederick (an iron plate manufacturer) and Ellen Elizabeth. He attended Camp Hill Grammar School and, prior to enlistment, was employed by printing company Billings Bros., St Paul’s Square, Birmingham.

Between 1901 and 1911 the family moved from Birmingham to Claremont, St Bernard’s Road, Olton. By this time George Hill was recorded as a galvanizer and japanner. Information from researchers at St Margaret’s Church, Olton is that Horace was one of the church’s first servers.

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12th October 1916

Private Ernest Lockley, 1st Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment was killed in action on 12th October 1916. Born in Birmingham in 1892, he was the third of the five children (three sons, two daughters) of parents Thomas (a brass caster) and Sarah Ann.

The local connection is that it seems Ernest was an inmate of Marston Green Cottage Homes, probably sometime between 1901 and 1909. His two younger sisters – Alice May (born 1895) and Nellie (born 1899) were both listed as inmates there on the 1911 census. By this time, Ernest would have been 18 years old and, therefore, too old to be resident in a children’s home. It wasn’t until 1918 that the school leaving age was raised from 12 to 14 although, typically, Poor Law Institutions would apprentice out children from the age of 14.

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