Solihull’s final casualty of 1917, Lieutenant Arthur Lewis Jenkins, Royal Flying Corps, was killed whilst night flying at Helperby, Yorkshire on 31st December 1917. Born in Bristol in 1892, Arthur was the eldest of the seven children (five sons, two daughters) of Sir John Lewis Jenkins, Indian Civil Service, and his wife Florence Mildred (née Trevor) who had married in India in 1890.
Two local men lost their lives on active service on 23rd December 1917 – Sergeant Walter Henry Mitchell, 111th Company, Machine Gun Corps, and Able Seaman John Henry Williams, Royal Naval Reserve, serving on HMS Surprise.
Private Edward Richards died of wounds on 21st December 1917. Aged 42, he had been called up in June 1917 and, although expressing a preference to serve in the Artillery, he was posted to the Royal Irish Fusiliers. He was then transferred to the 87th Company, Labour Corps. 18-year-old John Shirley, lately a Private with the 7th Reserve Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, died of rheumatic fever on the same day.
Lieutenant Lancelot John Barrington Walters lost his life in the sinking of HMS Partridge in the North Sea. On the same day, Private Alfred Humphriss Saunt, Army Service Corps, died of wounds at Queen Mary’s Military Hospital, Whalley, Lancashire.
Private Alfred Williams, 241132, 2nd/6th South Staffordshire Regiment, died of wounds on 10th December 1917. According to Soldiers Died in the Great War, he was born in Knowle, Warwickshire and enlisted in Wolverhampton.
Two local men died on 6th December 1917 whilst on active service in France. Private Claude Hunt, 2/8th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment died of wounds, whilst Lance Corporal Arthur William Wood 2nd/6th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment was killed in action.
Second Lieutenant Vernon Radcliffe Stewart, aged 23, was accidentally killed on 5th December 1917 whilst serving as a flying instructor at Castle Bromwich. He was born on 19th March 1894 in Holmesfield, Derbyshire but, by 1901, the family had moved to Haslingden, 19 miles north of Manchester. He was educated at Newchurch Grammar School, Haslingden Secondary School, Gigglewick School, and Manchester University before going on to study medicine at St Mary’s Hospital, London.
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.
Corporal William Henry Britt, 5th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment died of wounds on 22nd November 1917 during the battle of Cambrai. He was the third of three brothers to be killed in the war – eldest brother, Albert, died in 1914, whilst youngest brother, Sidney, was killed in February 1917.