Private Sidney William Dawes, 11th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, was killed in action on 30th April 1917. He was born in Knowle in 1893 and was the youngest of the ten children (seven sons, three daughters) of parents Robert (a nurseryman) and Mary Annie (née Field) who had married in 1871.
Four local men lost their lives on 11th April 1917 whilst serving in France: Lance Corporal William Henry Austin, 1st Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment; Private Colin Clews, 1st Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment; Private Albert Perks, 1st Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment; Private Arthur Henry Pool, 16th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (Manitoba Regt).
Private Sidney Britt died of wounds on 13th February 1917, serving with the 4th Battalion, South Wales Borderers. He was the youngest of ten children from Elmdon, three of whom died in the war. Serving regular soldier, Albert Henry, was killed in 1914 and his brother, William Henry (also a regular soldier 1900-1902) died in November 1917. Sidney was the second of the brothers to die in the war.
Four local men lost their lives on 26th September 1916 serving with the British Army in France – Lance Corporal Herbert Arculus, 16th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment; Private William Herbert Keel, 9th Battalion, Notts and Derby (Sherwood Foresters) Regiment; Major Guy Egerton Kidd, “A” Battery 70th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery; and Corporal Sam Chidler Ravenhall, 64th Brigade, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry).
31-year-old Private Alfred Knibb was killed in action on 20th August 1916 serving with the 1st/9th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He was born in 1885 in the parish of Tanworth-in-Arden and was the 9th child and youngest son of parents Edwin and Ellen (née Keen). The couple had married in 1867 in Knowle and went on to have 12 children, of whom 11 (five sons, six daughters) were still living by the time of the 1911 census.
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.
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.
27-year-old Second Lieutenant Aubrey Herbert Bower Webster was accidentally killed on 25th April 1916 when a bomb exploded prematurely whilst he was on a training course in France.
He was born in Dorridge on 25th June 1888, during the time that his father, Rev. John Webster, was curate there. He lived in Packwood as a boy and was educated at King’s School, Worcester, where his name appears on the roll of honour. His name is also included on the King’s School window in Worcester Cathedral Cloisters, as well as on a memorial plaque at St Andrew’s Church, Ombersley, Worcestershire and on the village war memorial. As far as we know, he isn’t commemorated on a memorial in the Solihull Borough.
The last of the known casualties from places now within the Solihull Borough to die in 1915 died on 29th December 1915.
Eric Arthur Walker, who enlisted as a Private with the Warwickshire Yeomanry before being commissioned on 26th February 1915 as Second Lieutenant 9th Battalion (attached 6th Battalion) King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. He first entered a Theatre of War on 16th October 1915, just over two months before he died on 29th December, aged 20.
Corporal Archibald Haye Neill, 1st Garrison Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, died in Sudan and is buried in Khartoum Military Cemetery. His name was added to the Hampton-in-Arden War Memorial in 2015, 100 years after his death.