Private Frederick Norman, 1st Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, died of wounds as a prisoner of war in Germany on 12th June 1917. Soldiers Died in the Great War lists him as being born in Knowle, and indicates that he was living in Knowle. However, it seems that he was actually born in Cold Newton, Leicestershire, in 1891. His name is recorded on war memorials at Knowle, Baddesley Clinton, Balsall Common, Chadwick End and Temple Balsall.
Two local men lost their lives on 9th January 1917 whilst serving in the Armed Forces.
Commander The Hon. Richard Orlando Beaconsfield Bridgeman RN, DSO, the son of the 4th Earl of Bradford of Castle Bromwich Hall, drowned whilst on active service in East Africa (modern Tanzania) with the Royal Navy. Second Lieutenant Arthur Gordon Robinson died in France whilst serving with the 2nd Special Company, Royal Engineers.
Three local men lost their lives on 9th October 1916: Private Ernest Davis and Private Charles Thomas Field, both of the 6th Battalion, Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry; and Rifleman Reginald Henry Whorwood, 1st/9th Battalion London Regiment (Queen Victoria’s Rifles).
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.
Nine local men with a connection to the area around Balsall Common, Knowle and, Dorridge died on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 1st July 1916:
- Second Lieutenant John Balkwill, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
- Second Lieutenant Geoffrey Jermyn Brand, General List (attached 101st Trench Mortar Battery)
- Private Thomas Cooper, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
- Private Walter Jennings, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
- Lieutenant Colonel Maurice Nicholl Kennard MC, West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales’s Own)
- Captain Stratford Walter Ludlow, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
- Private Alfred Mutlow, North Staffordshire Regiment
- Private George Arthur Smitten, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
- Captain Willingham Franklin Gell Wiseman, Lincolnshire Regiment
Three of the men – John Balkwill, Thomas Cooper, and Stratford Ludlow, are commemorated in a stained glass window in the Soldiers’ Chapel at Knowle Parish Church, which was given in memory of Stratford Ludlow by his father, Brigadier-General Ludlow. It was dedicated by the Bishop of Birmingham on 5th June 1921.
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.
Four local men from three different regiments died on 31st October 1914:
- Private Alfred Allcock, 2nd Dragoon Guards (Queen’s Bays), of Shirley
- Private Charles William Assinder (1889-1914), Royal Warwickshire Regiment, commemorated at Olton
- Private Cyril Frederick Collett (1894-1914), Worcestershire Regiment, commemorated at Solihull
- Drummer Harry William George (1890-1914), Worcestershire Regiment, commemorated at Marston Green Cottage Homes
The second casualty from places now within Solihull to die as a result of enemy action appears to be Private William Henry Wright of the Royal Marine Light Infantry (RMLI), also called the Red Marines. He was on board the scout cruiser, H.M.S. Pathfinder, sunk on 5th September 1914 by U-boat U-21 in the North Sea off St Abbs Head, Berwickshire, Scotland with the loss of over 250 men. His name appears in the Birmingham Daily Post 8th September 1914 as one of those missing. This was apparently the first ship ever to be sunk by a locomotive torpedo fired from a submarine.
According to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines War Graves roll on the Ancestry website (available free of charge from computers in Solihull Libraries), William Henry Wright was born in Rowington on 30th October 1895. At the time of the 1901 census, he was still living in Rowington with his parents, John and Anne. John was a general agricultural labourer, who was himself also born in Rowington.