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.
Nine local men lost their lives on 4th October 1917 whilst on active service:
- Lance Corporal Edwin John Adams, 14th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
- Private Eric Ashley Ellis, 13th Company, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)
- Sergeant Charles Haynes, 1st/5th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
- Second Lieutenant Albert Bertini Heywood, 10th Battalion, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
- Private Lewis James Knight, 30th Battalion, Australian Infantry
- Lance Corporal George Henry Pegg, 1st/6th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
- Private William Savage, 1st Battalion, Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry
- Private William Thomas Tropman, 1st/8th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
- Gunner Arthur Whinfrey, 256th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery
Gunner Abraham Birch Stowe, of Solihull, was killed in action on 10th June 1917 serving with the 138th Heavy Brigade, Royal Garrison Artillery. A regular soldier, he joined the Royal Garrison Artillery in October 1908 and, in 1911, was stationed at Fort Tigné, Malta.
Lieutenant Theodore Newman Hall died at Rouen on 15th August 1916 from wounds received on 23rd July whilst serving with the Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry. He was an only child and was born on 12th November 1894 in Sligo, Ireland.
His father, Rev. William Aidan Newman Hall, known as Aidan, was a minister with the Congregational Church, who moved to Sligo in July 1892, having previously attended Mount Pleasant Church, Hastings and been a student at Cheshunt Hall, Hertfordshire. He married his wife, Alice, in the same year.
30-year-old Private William Thomas Badger was the first person on the Catherine-de-Barnes war memorial to be killed in the war. He died at No. 10 Casualty Clearing Station of wounds sustained at Mount Sorrel, Belgium and is buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery. He was serving as a Private with the 3rd Battalion Canadian Pioneers, having emigrated to Canada by 1906.
Private Christopher James, recorded as aged 36, died on 3rd May 1916, serving with the 11th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. There is a slight discrepancy with his age, as he would actually have been 39 when he died. He was born in 1876 in Pencoyd, Ross, Herefordshire to parents James (a farm labourer) and Harriet. Soldiers Died in the Great War also has an error in the birthplace – listing his place of birth as St Leonard’s, Hertfordshire.
On 25th January 1916, two local men died as a result of their war service:
- Temporary Captain, John Harry Hartill, aged 52, General List
- Private William Lovegrove, aged 23, 1st Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
The war memorials at Catherine-de-Barnes and Solihull both include the name of Lance Corporal James Uriah Hill of the Coldstream Guards, although his local connection with the area isn’t known. He was killed in action at Vermelles, on 9th October 1915.
He was born in Saltley to parents James Uriah and Mary Ann (née Wragg) who had married at Nechells in 1877. His birth was registered in 1892, although there is a slight discrepancy in age with other official records suggesting a date of birth of 1889/1890. The couple did have another son called James Uriah, born 8th September 1883 at Nechells but this child seems to have died aged one, and is buried in Witton Cemetery, Birmingham. It was common practice in the past for a child to have the same name as a dead sibling to ensure that a favourite name continued for another generation. Mary Ann herself died in 1900, aged 44, and James Uriah married Sarah Clay in 1905.
Regular soldier Sydney Alfred Cockayne, from Catherine-de-Barnes, died of wounds on 17th May 1915 whilst serving as Acting Sergeant Major with the 1st Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps.
He was actually baptised as Alfred Sidney Cockayne, and appears as Alfred on the 1891 and 1901 censuses before being recorded as Sidney Cockayne in 1911. Presumably, preferring to be known by his middle name, he switched the order of his Christian names when he joined the Army. Certainly, all his Army records refer to him as S. A. Cockayne.