Private Keith Garraway Chatfield, 1st Battalion Australian Infantry, Australian Imperial Force, died on 3rd October 1917. We’re not absolutely sure that this is the same Keith Chatfield who is commemorated at Bickenhill, as there seems no obvious link. However, this is the only Keith Chatfield listed on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, and there doesn’t seem to be another Keith Chatfield mentioned in the local area.
Four local men died on 22nd August 1917: Corporal Alfred John Collins, 2nd/4th Battalion, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry; Private Charles Edmund Frost, 6th Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry; Private Albert Maybury, 2/4th Battalion, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry; and Private Frederick George Skidmore, 1st/7th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. The first three have no known grave and so they are commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial.
Private George Herbert Smith, 9th Company, Machine Gun Corps, died on 10th May 1917, aged 20. He was born in Marston Green and was the second of the five children (three sons, two daughters) of parents James (a railway plate layer) and Florence Mary (née Harvey) who had married at Bickenhill in 1894. Two of their three sons were killed during the First World War – the youngest, Sydney Harvey (1911-1997) was too young to serve in the war.
Two local men lost their lives in France on 29th April 1917, Private Elliott Spencer, “B” Company, 11th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment, and Private Francis Edward Thornley, 13th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
Private Richard William Adams, 1st/6th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment was killed in action on 2nd December 1916, as was Private Percy Sears of the Army Service Corps, attached 2nd/1st (South Midland) Field Ambulance.
21-year-old James Enoch Smith died on 25th July 1916, serving as a Private with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He was the eldest of five children, and seems to have been named after his father, James Smith, a platelayer on the railway, and his maternal grandfather, Enoch Harvey, a bricklayer. His paternal grandfather, also James Smith, was also a platelayer on the railway.
James Enoch’s parents, James Smith and Florence Mary Harvey, married at St Peter’s Church, Bickenhill on 15th May 1894. James Enoch was born in Bickenhill the following year and, by 1901, the family was living in Marston Green. By 1911, the family had moved to Bradnock’s Marsh, Hampton-in-Arden, although James Enoch was not with his parents and siblings in the family home. We haven’t been able to find him elsewhere on the 1911 census so, if you have any further information, please let us know.
We don’t know when James Enoch Smith enlisted in the Army but he didn’t see service overseas before 1916 as he wasn’t entitled to a 1914 or 1914/15 Star. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. He is also commemorated locally on war memorials at Bickenhill and Marston Green.
If you have any further information, please let us know.
Heritage & Local Studies Librarian
tel.: 0121 704 6977
Lance Corporal Collins Jeffreys (sometimes Jeffries) Jones was killed in action during attacks on High Wood, on the Somme, on 22nd July 1916 whilst serving with the 14th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. His older brother, Charles Victor Jones, also a Lance Corporal in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, was killed in the same action on the following day.
Three local men lost their lives on 16th June 1916:
- Corporal Henry Elliott, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
- Bombardier Edward Henry Prince, Royal Field Artillery
- Sergeant Leonard Wilson, Royal Field Artillery
Henry Elliott is buried at the Fauborg d’Amiens Cemetery in Arras, France. Edward Prince and Leonard Wilson are both buried at Hebuterne Military Cemetery in the Pas de Calais, about 20 km south-west of Arras.
So far, we have over 800 names on our list of those from places now in the Solihull Borough, or from the Solihull Rural District, who died as a result of their war service. However, we are struggling to identify in official records some of the people named on local memorials. This can be because there are too many people of the same name, or because we don’t have full names or service details, or because we have found possible individuals but can’t be sure of any local connection.
If you can help with information on any of the following, especially exact dates of death, please let us know: