Second Lieutenant James Henry Cremonini was killed in action on 18th October 1917, aged 18. He was the only son of parents Anthony Lewis Cremonini (a stockbroker) and Fanny (née Cockill), who also had four daughters – Monica Marie (1896-1978), Edith Magdalen (1897-1985), Veronica (1900-1981) and Sylvia May Selina (1902-1995). James Henry was born on 22nd October 1898, so was just four days short of his 19th birthday when he was killed.
Two local men died on active service on 10th October 1917. Both have no known grave and are commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial.
- Private George Henry Burton, 16th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
- Captain Herbert Clement, 3rd Battalion, attached 14th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
Two local men died on 29th September 1917 whilst on active service with the Royal Field Artillery. Corporal Harry Proctor, 94th Battery, 18th Brigade, died of wounds and Second Lieutenant Walter Sutton Rotherham MM, A Battery, 83rd Brigade, was killed in action.
26th September 1917 saw the official opening of Solihull Cemetery, described in the opening brochure as being at the junction of Robin Hood Road and Olton Road, although the cemetery’s address is now usually given as Streetsbrook Road.
The 42-acre-site was chosen as the most suitable place for a cemetery, as it is “easy of access from all parts and is sufficiently removed from the residential districts not to be in any way detrimental to the same.”
The opening brochure describes the caretaker’s lodge and offices at the entrance, which were built of Staffordshire bricks with Hornton Stone dressings. The building work was undertaken by Thomas Bragg & Sons, Shirley and the laying out of the cemetery was carried out by Solihull Rural District Council staff, under the direction of Mr Albert Edward Currall (1862-1935), surveyor to the Council.
Part of the caretaker’s lodge was apparently used as a mortuary chapel until a permanent chapel was erected. The foundation stone for the new chapel was laid in 1930, and the building was then extended in 1958 when the Crematorium was opened.
Thomas George Turrell VC is buried in Robin Hood Cemetery.
For current information about Robin Hood Cemetery, please contact Solihull Council’s Bereavement Services.
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, East Surrey Regiment.
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
Two local officers died on 15th August 1917 – Lieutenant John Howard Banks, 176th Company, Machine Gun Corps and Lieutenant Holroyd Birkett Barker, 134th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery.
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
Private Norman Philip Barlow, 102nd Battalion, Canadian Infantry and Second Lieutenant Lucien Herbert Higgs, Royal Flying Corps both died on 8th June 1917 whilst on active service.