24th February 1917

On 24th February 1917, Acting Corporal Walter George Riggs was killed whilst on duty in the trenches in Vimy Ridge with the 26th Battalion (New Brunswick Regiment), Canadian Infantry. His foot was blown off by the explosion of an enemy fishtail bomb. Comrades rendered first aid and he was taken to a dressing station and evacuated to No. 42 Casualty Clearing Station where he died. He is buried in Aubigny Communal Cemetery Extension, France.

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22nd February 1917

Private Walter Edward Woodward was killed in action on 22nd February 1917, serving with the 11th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Born in Knowle in 1878, he was baptised at Knowle parish church on 5th May 1878 and was the second of the six children of parents William Wyatt Woodward (a coachman) and Louisa (née Allsop), who had married in 1875. Walter had an older brother, William Thomas (1877-1934) and four younger siblings: Charles Frederick (born 1879); Edith Mary (1882-1952); Grace Louisa (1884-1947) and Ernest John (1885-1963).

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17th February 1917

Private Herbert Horton died on 17th February 1917 serving with the 12th Battalion Middlesex Regiment. Born in Handsworth in 1880, he was the third of the seven children (five sons, two daughters) of parents, Albert, a schoolmaster and Kate Louisa (née Carley) who had married in St Pancras, London in 1876. Herbert was educated at King Edward’s School, Aston, before joining the Midland Bank as a cashier at the Birmingham head office.

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A wartime marriage

100 years ago two cousins in their 30s met for the first time in Solihull and fell in love.

At the Core Library, Solihull, we have photocopies of some letters written by an Australian First World War soldier – Private Frederick William Forder – from a convalescent hospital in England in 1916 and on board a ship home to Australia in 1919 (our ref.: D125).

The letters were sent to his wife, Edith Forder (née Hobbins) whom he had married at St Alphege Church, Solihull on 5th June 1918. It seems that after six months of married life in England, the couple were parted when Frederick returned to Australia in January 1919, and they never saw each other again.

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