Four local men died on 22nd August 1917: Corporal Alfred John Collins, 2nd/4th Battalion, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry; Private Charles Edmund Frost, 6th Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry; Private Albert Maybury, 2/4th Battalion, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry; and Private Frederick George Skidmore, 1st/7th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. The first three have no known grave and so they are commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial.
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.
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.
On 24th February 1917, Acting Corporal Walter George Riggs was killed whilst on duty in the trenches in Vimy Ridge with the 26th Battalion (New Brunswick Regiment), Canadian Infantry. His foot was blown off by the explosion of an enemy fishtail bomb. Comrades rendered first aid and he was taken to a dressing station and evacuated to No. 42 Casualty Clearing Station where he died. He is buried in Aubigny Communal Cemetery Extension, France.
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 (who served in the militia 1900-1902) died in November 1917. Sidney was the second of the brothers to die in the war.
Gunner William John Allen was killed in action, aged 29, serving with the Royal Field Artillery. He was baptised at St Alphege Church, Solihull on 27th February 1887, and was the eldest of the eight children (five daughters, three sons) of parents William (a house painter) and his wife, Emma.
Two local men serving with the Coldstream Guards were declared missing on 29th October 1914 – Corporal Albert Henry Britt, of Elmdon Heath, and Private William Joseph Gascoigne of Hampton-in-Arden.
Corporal Claude Percival Wilks, King’s Royal Rifle Corps, was killed in action on 26th September 1914, aged 22. He is commemorated on war memorials at Catherine-de-Barnes, Elmdon, and Solihull.
He was born in Solihull in 1892, to parents Harvey Albert Wilks and Emma (née Neal) who had married in Worcester in 1890, when Harvey was 19 years old and Emma was 22. Emma had been born in Hampton-in-Arden in 1868. The newly-weds set up home in South Claines, Worcestershire, where their eldest son, also Harvey Albert Wilks, was born in 1891. It seems that they had moved back to Solihull by the time of Claude’s birth in 1892, as Soldiers Died in the Great War gives his birthplace as Solihull. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to find Claude on the 1901 or 1911 census returns, and it seems his service record hasn’t survived, so little is known about his military service.