Two men with a local connection died in Flanders on 1st August 1917, the second day of the Third Battle of Ypres – former schoolteacher Second Lieutenant George Williams Hastings, 3rd Battalion Monmouthshire Regiment (attached to the 10th Battalion Cheshire Regiment), and labourer, Private David Thorneycroft, 38th Field Ambulance, Army Medical Corps.
Sergeant Frank Webb, aged 29, died on 26th April 1917, serving with 11th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Born in Barston on 28th December 1888, he was baptised at St John Baptist Church, Berkswell on 31st March 1889. He was the third of the four children of parents Thomas (an insurance agent for the Prudential Assurance Co.) and Jane (née Bray) who had married at St Mary’s Church, Warwick in 1882.
According the the Register of Soldiers’ Effects, Driver Francis Hall, Royal Field Artillery, died on 23rd February 1917 at Frensham Hill Military Hospital, Farnham, Surrey. He is buried at St Swithin’s Church, Barston. He was 19 years old, and was the first of two brothers to be killed in the war.
Private Walter Edward Woodward was killed in action on 22nd February 1917, serving with the 11th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Born in Knowle in 1878, he was baptised at Knowle parish church on 5th May 1878 and was the second of the six children of parents William Wyatt Woodward (a coachman) and Louisa (née Allsop), who had married in 1875. Walter had an older brother, William Thomas (1877-1934) and four younger siblings: Charles Frederick (born 1879); Edith Mary (1882-1952); Grace Louisa (1884-1947) and Ernest John (1885-1963).
On 17th November 1916, Captain Charles Henry Dwyer was shot and killed by a German sniper early in morning while carrying out a difficult reconnaissance. He was 21 years old, and was serving with the 10th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment.
Merchant mariner Arthur Cecil Johnson, of Barston, also died on 17th November 1916 aboard the cargo vessel, S.S. Serbistan, which went missing at sea.
23-year-old Private Job William Mason, 3rd Battalion Coldstream Guards, died of wounds on 22nd September 1916 at No. 1 South African General Hospital, Abbeville, France. The hospital had begun admitting patients on 17th July 1916, although it was staffed by temporary nursing staff from the adjacent No. 2 Stationary Hospital until the arrival on 4th August of a Matron and nurses from England. See the Scarlet Finders website for more information on the S.A.G. Hospital, Abbeville.
Eight local men were killed in action on 3rd September 1916 whilst serving with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in France. Unpublished research by the late Alan Tucker describes the 14th Battalion in assault positions near Angle Wood at 2am on 3rd September, ready for an attack towards Falfemont Farm. The farm was on high ground overlooking the Allied positions and was a German fortified strong point immediately in front of the German trenches.
The attack began at 9am with an assault by the 2nd Battalion King’s Own Scottish Borderers. It faltered quickly as there was no protective barrage to provide cover, and German machine guns cut down the soldiers 500 yards from the front of the farm. The 14th Battalion Royal Warwicks joined the attack, with the 15th Battalion joining in at about 1pm. The men who had survived were relieved at midnight, and the farm was finally taken on 5th September by the 1st Cheshires and 1st Bedfords. By this time, no part of the farm was left standing.
None of our eight local Royal Warwicks casualties killed in this action has a known grave and all are commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.
- Private Archibald Henry Brown, 15th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
- Lance Corporal Hugo Buckley, 16th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
- Private Rowland Hill Burgess, 15th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
- Lance Corporal Henry Wood Doble, 15th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
- Private Oliver Robert Foreshew, 2nd Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
- Private Garnet Smith, 15th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
- Private Henry Troman, 15th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
- Private Frederick George Wilsdon, 14th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment