Private Arthur Sydney Neale died on 15th June 1918 whilst serving with 6th Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment. He was born in Shirley in 1898 and was the seventh of the ten children (eight sons, two daughters) of parents George Henry (a farm labourer) and Sarah (née Bishop) who had married in Solihull in 1884. Arthur was one of four brothers to serve in the Armed Forces. He is pictured above (centre) with two of his brothers.
Two men with a local connection died on 30th May 1918. Captain Adie Wale, 186th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, died after the hospital in which he was being treated for wounds was bombed by the Germans on the night of 29th/30th May. Private Henry Walker, 8th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment died of wounds on the same day.
Second Lieutenant Kenneth William Allan Duncan, aged 23, died on 8th May 1918 serving with the 10th Battalion The King’s (Liverpool Regiment), attached to the 6th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders. On the same day, Private Ernest Austin, 11th Battalion Durham Light Infantry, died of illness in a German Prisoner of War hospital.
Private Alfred Stevens MM, 99th Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps, died of his wounds at Keighley War Hospital on 30th April 1918, having been invalided to the UK. Born in Shirley in 1899, Alfred became a clerk with the Britannic Assurance company.
Two local men lost their lives on 16th April 1918 whilst on active service – Private Jim Birch, 5th Battalion, Tank Corps, and Lance Corporal Harry Moseley, 1st Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
Rifleman Harry Fox, 7th Battalion King’s Royal Rifle Corps, died of wounds on 4th April 1918. Harry was the fifth of the eight known children of parents George Blanford Fox (coachman and, later, farm labourer) and Sarah Ann (née Hughes) who married in George’s home parish of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire in 1874. There was a ninth child, who had died by 1911, as had two of the other children – Fanny (born and died in 1874) and John (born and died 1877). The family moved to Solihull Lodge between 1875-1877 and lived there until at least 1911.
Private Arthur Noel Cox, 20th Hussars was killed in action on 1st April 1918. He was the youngest of 12 children of whom three had died by 1911. One of Arthur’s brothers – Edward John Cox, a regular soldier – had died in 1915 of illness, after being involved in the ‘Wayfarer incident’.
On 26th February 1918, Acting Matron Katy Beaufoy lost her life when HMHS Glenart Castle, the hospital ship on which she was serving with Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service, was torpedoed by German submarine UC56 ten miles west of Lundy Island. The ship was making her way from South Wales down the Bristol Channel, bound for Brest, France, and was clearly displaying hospital ship markings, including lit Red Crosses and being painted white with green stripe on the sides. The torpedo hit the no. 3 hold at 03:47am, destroying most of the lifeboats in the process, and the ship sank within eight minutes. Only 32 people survived, with 162 losing their lives.
34-year-old Lance Corporal George Johnson, 11th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, died of wounds in France on 4th January 1918. He was born in Marton, Warwickshire on 29th September 1883 and was the seventh of the twelve children of parents, William (a farm labourer) and Emma (née Hobday) who had married at Stretton on Dunsmore on Christmas Day, 1870.