20th September 1917

Five local men were killed in action on 20th September 1917. This was the first day of the Battle of the Menin Road Ridge, which lasted until 25th September and marked a change in British infantry tactics.

Although previous attacks had penetrated the lightly-defended German front lines, exhausted troops then came under sustained counter-attack and failed to penetrate the second line. The new strategy was designed to attack a small part of the front line, first with heavy bombardment, and then by troops in strength under a creeping barrage 1000 yards deep, protecting the advancing infantry. Once through the lines and having reached their objectives, troops were then to stop and dig in. A second wave of infantry could then pass through to attack the next objective.

Local men who lost their lives in this action were:

  • Private Richard Sydney Greaves, 6th Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment
  • Private Thomas Henry Lloyd, 10th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment
  • Sergeant Septimus Price, 6th Battalion, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry
  • Corporal Percy John Shirley, 10th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
  • Sergeant Harry Taylor, 10th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment

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31st July 1917

Four local men lost their lives on 31st July 1917, the opening day of the Third Battle of Ypres (also known as Passchendaele, after the surrounding village and ridge). The offensive lasted until the village was taken on 6th November 1917, at a cost of some 310,000 British casualties, and over 260,000 German casualties.

Our local casualties on the first day, the Battle of Pilckem Ridge were:

  • Captain Eric Belfield, 4th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment
  • Private Rudolph Lawley, 2nd Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment
  • Private Joseph James Lines, 10th Battalion, Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent Regiment)
  • Private Joseph Savage, 1st Battalion, Coldstream Guards

Having no known grave, all of them are commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial

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8th July 1917

Sapper Ernest William Bailey was killed in action on 8th July 1917 serving with 218th Field Company, Royal Engineers. Born in Bordesley in 1888, he was the second of three children of parents Christopher William and Sarah (née Kimberley) who had married at Holy Trinity, Bordesley, in 1885. His sister, Elsie, was born in 1887, whilst the youngest child, Alfred, was born in 1891, by which time the family had moved to Hampton-in-Arden.

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6th February 1917

Lance Corporal Sydney Howard Falconbridge was killed in action on 6th February 1917 serving with the 143rd Company, Machine Gun Corps. He was born in Hampton-in-Arden in 1893 to parents, George (a police constable) and Ellen Ann (née Knight), who had married at Hatton in 1888. He was the third of the couple’s eight children (four sons, four daughters). Some records spell his name as Sidney.

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22nd October 1916

Sergeant Hugh James Smith died on 22nd October 1916 serving with the 17th Battalion King’s Royal Rifle Corps.

Although he was born in Bitteswell, Leicestershire, his parents, James and Harriet, were both from Berkswell, and Hugh was brought up in Hampton-in-Arden. Research by Clive Hinsull in Hampton-in-Arden: those who served 1914-18 indicates that Hugh attended George Fentham School in the village before enlisting as a regular soldier in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps. He served in South Africa 1899-1902 and in Somaliland 1902-1904.

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