20-year-old Sapper Eustace Bertram Wagstaff (listed as Wagstaffe in some records) was killed in action on 6th April 1918 serving with the 69th Field Company, Royal Engineers. He was the second of the four children of parents William Charles (a coachman) and Harriet (née Freeman) who had married in London in 1891.
Gunner Alfred Bartlett, aged 40, died on 16th March 1918 whilst serving at Boyton Camp, Wiltshire with the 4th “B” Reserve Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. He was born in 1877 in Stow-on-the-Wold and was the third of the ten children of parents George and Elizabeth (née Webb) who had married in Elizabeth’s home parish of Great Rollright, Oxfordshire in 1871.
Private Thomas Duffin, 1st/5th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, died on 24th August 1917, aged 38. He was born in Packwood in 1879 and was the third of the eight children born to parents Thomas, an agricultural labourer, and Jane (née Kirby) who had married at Packwood in 1873 when Thomas (senior), a widower, was aged 48 and Jane was 19.
Gunner Norman Vaughan of “D” Battery, 312th (West Riding) Brigade, Royal Field Artillery was killed in action on 26th May 1917. Born in Handsworth in 1880, he was the eighth of nine children (six boys, three girls) and the first of two sons of parents John and Maria (née Bevins) to be killed during the war. His brother, William Leonard (known as Leonard) died of wounds on 30th November 1917, serving as a Guardsman with the Grenadier Guards.
Two local men died on 4th March 1917 as a result of their war service. Private Ernest William Clifford, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, and Private Walter James Painting, 1st Battalion Worcestershire Regiment.
Corporal William Robert Smith, 4th Battalion Coldstream Guards died of testicular cancer in Birmingham on 26th January 1917, two days after his 21st birthday. He was the youngest of the nine children (four sons, five daughters) of parents Richard (an agricultural labourer) and Ann (née Ward). The couple had married in 1875 and then lived at Shelly Green before moving to Bentley Heath by 1891, where Richard’s parents, William and Maria, also lived. The family remained at Bentley Heath until at least 1911.
Private Frederick Clifford Baulcombe, 7th Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment, died in Salonika on 22nd November 1916. Aged 22, he was the second member of the Baulcombe family to be killed in action. His eldest brother, Frank, died in 1915. Two other brothers – Harry and Harold – also served in the war and survived.
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
Private Philip Salt, 8th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment, was killed in action on 10th July 1916. Born in Handsworth in 1890, he was the only child of parents John (a coachman, born in Upton Warren, Worcestershire) and Eliza Jane (born in Dunley, Worcestershire), who had married in 1889.
By 1901, the family had moved to Bentley Heath, moving to Copt Heath by 1911. Philip became a gardener, and was living at Umberslade in 1911. His service record appears not to have survived but his medal index card indicates that he entered a Theatre of War (France) on 26th August 1915, so it’s known that he was a volunteer, not a conscript.
Philip Salt was initially posted as missing, and the Birmingham Weekly Post of 30th September 1916 carried an appeal by his father for further information. His body was never found, and his name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial. He is also commemorated locally on war memorials at Solihull and Knowle.
Tragically, his mother, Eliza, was killed in February 1925 when a tree fell on her during a gale where the winds reached 78 miles per hour. His father, John, continued to live in Copt Heath and, by the time the 1939 Register was taken on 29th September 1939, he was aged 79, living alone in Jacobean Lane, with his occupation listed as retired groom. He died later that year.
If you have any further information about Philip Salt or his family, please let us know.
Heritage & Local Studies Librarian
tel.: 0121 704 6977