Two local men lost their lives on 6th October 1918 as a result of their war service. Charles Leonard Ball had been discharged from the Army so doesn’t actually appear on any official records as a casualty, although his name is recorded locally on Olton war memorial. Private Stephen Mumford MM, 50th Battalion, Machine Gun Corps died on active service in France, possibly as a prisoner of war.
18-year-old Percy John Evans died on 9th September 1918 whilst training at Hastings as a cadet with the Squadron Cadet Wing, Royal Air Force.
Sapper Harry Beacham, 126th Field Company, Royal Engineers, was killed in action on 24th March 1918. He was the eldest of three children and the only surviving son of parents Alfred (a bricklayer) and Emma (née Whitehead) of Allesley, Coventry. His younger brother, Walter, died in 1888, aged under one year. His sister, Dorothy (1891-1986) died at the age of 94.
Nine local men lost their lives on the first day of the German Spring Offensive (Operation Michael), which saw British troops subjected to one of the longest artillery bombardments of the war. Lasting for five hours from 4:20am, the barrage of over one million artillery shells smashed vital communication lines, and was followed by waves of elite German troops coming over No Man’s Land, which was shrouded in thick fog. The Germans made swift and significant gains, with the British suffering some 50,000 casualties. British troops were ordered to withdraw, giving up much of the Somme region. However, it was not a decisive defeat, and the British were able to establish new lines of defence, whilst the rapid advance caused German supply lines to become overextended. Continue reading “21st March 1918”
Four local men lost their lives on active service on 26th October 1917. Three of them were serving with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment – Private Albert Edward Lewis (14th Battalion), Private William Richard Parry (15th Battalion) and Private Albert Charles Thompson (15th Battalion). All three have no known grave and are commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial.
Also killed was Private Sydney West, who was serving with the 58th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (Central Ontario Regiment), having emigrated from Solihull.
Three local men lost their lives on active service on 9th October 1917:
- Lance Corporal Joseph Richard Andrews, 2nd Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
- Private Albert Edmund Biddle, 148th Company, Machine Gun Corps
- Private Walter Reuben Clark, 1st/7th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment
Three local men are recorded as having been killed on 21st September 1917, the second day of the Battle of Menin Road Ridge: Private Arthur Paget, 10th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment; Private William Skidmore, 8th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment; Lance Corporal Thomas Wells, 12th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment.
Private Charles Paston, 11th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, was killed in action on 9th August 1917 and was the third of three brothers to be killed in the war. He was born in Temple Balsall on 17th June 1887 and was the sixth of eight children (three sons, five daughters) born to parents George (a labourer) and Ann (née Treadgold) who had married in 1876.
Private Frederick Norman, 1st Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, died of wounds as a prisoner of war in Germany on 12th June 1917. Soldiers Died in the Great War lists him as being born in Knowle, and indicates that he was living in Knowle. However, it seems that he was actually born in Cold Newton, Leicestershire, in 1891. His name is recorded on war memorials at Knowle, Baddesley Clinton, Balsall Common, Chadwick End and Temple Balsall.