Nine local men lost their lives on the first day of the German Spring Offensive (Operation Michael), which saw British troops subjected to one of the longest artillery bombardments of the war. Lasting for five hours from 4:20am, the barrage of over one million artillery shells smashed vital communication lines, and was followed by waves of elite German troops coming over No Man’s Land, which was shrouded in thick fog. The Germans made swift and significant gains, with the British suffering some 50,000 casualties. British troops were ordered to withdraw, giving up much of the Somme region. However, it was not a decisive defeat, and the British were able to establish new lines of defence, whilst the rapid advance caused German supply lines to become overextended. Continue reading “21st March 1918”
John Howard Cotterrell was killed on 4th September 1916 serving as a Lance Corporal with the 2nd Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. He was born in Chessetts Wood, Knowle in 1882 and was the youngest of the seven children (five sons, two daughters) born to parents Edward (a gardener) and Alice (née Clark) who had married at Knowle in November 1871.
Lance Corporal Peter Thompson, of Chadwick End, was killed in action on 29th July 1916 serving with the 10th Battalion Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding Regiment). He was born in Chadwick End on 19th October 1886 and baptised at Temple Balsall on 12th December 1886. His parents were William (a labourer from Knowle) and Hannah (née Woodcock, born in Baddesley Clinton). They had married in 1873 and initially seem to have set up home in Birmingham, moving from Bordesley to Harborne between 1878 and 1881. They lived in Chadwick End from at least 1886 until 1911 and had five children of whom two had died by 1911.
Private Joseph Harrison, who died on 31st January 1916 serving as a Private with the 1st Battalion, King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, was born in Baddesley Clinton, Warwickshire in 1887. Apart from his war service, he seems to have lived in Baddesley Clinton for his whole life, as did many of his family, who seem to have had a long association with Baddesley Clinton Hall as servants.
On the 1891 census, all four of the live-in female servants (housekeeper, cook, housemaid and kitchen maid) were members of the Harrison family – the sister of Joseph’s father, and three of her nieces.