Gunner Ralph George Baker, 309 Siege Battery, Honourable Artillery Company, died of pneumonia on 18th May 1918 in a German Hospital as a Prisoner of War. He was born in Handsworth on 12th July 1898, and was the second of the three sons of Charles (a jeweller) and Amelia (known as Minne) (née Deakin).
Acting 2nd Corporal James William Alfred Borley died of wounds on 15th May 1918 at the 17th Casualty Clearing Station, whilst serving with the Railway Operating Division of the Royal Engineers. He was 25 years old, and had been born in Hampton-in-Arden in 1892.
Able Seaman Arthur Leslie Ryland Hill, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, was killed in action on 19th February 1918 when his ship, the transport liner SS Philadelphian, was sunk by torpedoes from German submarine U-82 whilst 47 miles from the Lizard peninsula, Cornwall. The ship had left New York on 11th February and Able Seaman Hill was one of four crew members to lose his life, along with an entire cargo of horses destined for the Romsey Remount Depot, Hampshire.
Three local men lost their lives on 28th November 1917 whilst on active service:
- Lance Corporal Bernard Greenland, 2nd Battalion, Hampshire Regiment
- Private Josiah Hill, 7th Battalion, Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry
- Private Frederick James Palmer, 5th Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment
All three have no known grave and are commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial.
Gunner Eric Powell Davies, Base Details, Royal Field Artillery, attached to the 1st Army School of Mortars, died in France on 28th November 1917. The Register of Soldiers’ Effects indicates that he was electrocuted, but gives no further details.
Private George Henry Kettle also died on the same day. Known as Harry, he died of wounds serving in France with the 5th Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment.
Nine local men lost their lives on 4th October 1917 whilst on active service:
- Lance Corporal Edwin John Adams, 14th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
- Private Eric Ashley Ellis, 13th Company, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)
- Sergeant Charles Haynes, 1st/5th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
- Second Lieutenant Albert Bertini Heywood, 10th Battalion, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
- Private Lewis James Knight, 30th Battalion, Australian Infantry
- Lance Corporal George Henry Pegg, 1st/6th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
- Private William Savage, 1st Battalion, Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry
- Private William Thomas Tropman, 1st/8th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
- Gunner Arthur Whinfrey, 256th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery
Five local men were killed in action on 20th September 1917. This was the first day of the Battle of the Menin Road Ridge, which lasted until 25th September and marked a change in British infantry tactics.
Although previous attacks had penetrated the lightly-defended German front lines, exhausted troops then came under sustained counter-attack and failed to penetrate the second line. The new strategy was designed to attack a small part of the front line, first with heavy bombardment, and then by troops in strength under a creeping barrage 1000 yards deep, protecting the advancing infantry. Once through the lines and having reached their objectives, troops were then to stop and dig in. A second wave of infantry could then pass through to attack the next objective.
Local men who lost their lives in this action were:
- Private Richard Sydney Greaves, 6th Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment
- Private Thomas Henry Lloyd, 10th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment
- Sergeant Septimus Price, 6th Battalion, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry
- Corporal Percy John Shirley, 10th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
- Sergeant Harry Taylor, 10th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
Rifleman Henry Godson, 7th Battalion, Rifle Brigade was killed in action on 26th August 1917. Born in Hampton-in-Arden in 1892, Henry had moved to Birmingham by 1901 and volunteered for the Army on 29th August 1914, less than a month after the outbreak of war.
Four local men lost their lives on 31st July 1917, the opening day of the Third Battle of Ypres (also known as Passchendaele, after the surrounding village and ridge). The offensive lasted until the village was taken on 6th November 1917, at a cost of some 310,000 British casualties, and over 260,000 German casualties.
Our local casualties on the first day, the Battle of Pilckem Ridge were:
- Captain Eric Belfield, 4th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment
- Private Rudolph Lawley, 2nd Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment
- Private Joseph James Lines, 10th Battalion, Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent Regiment)
- Private Joseph Savage, 1st Battalion, Coldstream Guards
Having no known grave, all of them are commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial