Private Arthur Edward Oakes died on 18th December 1916, aged 18, serving with the 2nd/8th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He was born in Solihull on 1st April 1898, and was baptised at St Alphege Church on 12th June 1898. He was the sixth of the eight children known to have been born to parents, Frank (a bricklayer) and Mary (née Sabin), who had married in Stretton-on-Fosse in 1888.
Their eldest son, Thomas George, was born in Mary’s home parish of Stretton-on-Dunsmore in 1889. The couple set up home in Frank’s home town of Solihull, living in Mill Lane from at least 1891 until 1910. Mary died in 1906, aged 44, and Frank remarried in 1910. His second wife was Elizabeth Moore and, following their marriage, they moved to New Road, Solihull with five of the children from Frank’s first marriage.
Three of Frank and Mary’s sons – Charles William, Frank, and Arthur Edward – are known to have served in the First World War. Charles and Frank enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery in January 1915. Both survived the war, although Charles was discharged in January 1918 as no longer fit for war service after suffering shell shock. Prior to enlistment, he had worked as a shoeing smith for two years at Wilsdon & Co., Park Road, Solihull. His brother, Frank, was a butcher before enlisting and was discharged from the Army in March 1919.
We don’t know when Edward joined the Army, but he didn’t see overseas service in a Theatre of War before 1916. He was killed in action on 18th December and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, having no known grave. He is commemorated locally on the Solihull War Memorial.
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