Two local men lost their lives on 1st June 1916. Private Harold Hackett, aged 25, serving with the 2nd Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, and Stoker 1st Class Charles Simmons, aged 21, serving aboard H.M.S. Tipperary.
Private George William Kippen was killed in action in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) on 5th April 1916, serving with the 9th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He was the eldest of five children born to parents George (born 1861), a gun screwer, and Jane (née Farrington) and he seems to have had rather a difficult life before enlisting in the Army in March 1914. Two of his three brothers are also known to have served in the Armed Forces.
Private Arthur Watton, also with the 9th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, died of wounds on the same day in the same place. The Battalion was mobilised for war in June 1915 and sent to Gallipoli. Owing to severe losses from combat, disease and harsh weather, the Division was evacuated to Mudros and then Egypt in January 1916. On 16th February 1916 the Battalion embarked for Basra from Suez to defend British interests against Turk forces, arriving on 28th February 1916.
Both men are commemorated on the Basra Memorial.
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
Two local non-commissoned officers (NCOs) were killed in action on 15th December 1915:
- Corporal Percy Taylor Broomfield of Marston Green, serving with 15th Battalion (2nd Birmingham), Royal Warwickshire Regiment
- Corporal Charles Henry Stone of Castle Bromwich
Neither man was born in these parishes – both had moved from their birthplace and settled in the area.
Albert Herbert Farrow, who seems to have been known as Herbert, was born in Roughton, Norfolk on 25th August 1885 to parents Jonathan and Sarah Farrow. He enlisted as a regular soldier with the Coldstream Guards on 10th January 1905 and served five years with the colours, including two years in Egypt. He then joined the Reserve, when he became a gamekeeper. On the 1911 census he is shown as living at Marston Green and his occupation is recorded as under gamekeeper.
We’re not quite sure of the connection with Hockley Heath of Private Thomas Cecil Davies (also listed in some records as Davis) who died on 29th August 1915 serving as a Private with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He was born in Yardley in 1889 and lived there until at least 1901. His mother, Annie, died between 1901 and 1911. By 1911, his widowed father, Thomas, had moved to the Lodge, Chelmsley House, Marston Green, but Thomas Cecil was not listed with him.
Two local men died on 19th May 1915. Herbert Samuel Wakelin died at home in Olton on 19th May 1915 and is buried at Yardley Cemetery in Birmingham.
Charles Samuel George, who had spent almost all his childhood as an inmate at Marston Green Cottage Homes, died of wounds in France, whilst serving as a Private with the 1st Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment. He was the brother of Harry George, who had died of wounds on 31st October 1914.
Two former inmates of Marston Green Cottage Homes died on 7th May 1915 whilst serving with the 2nd Battalion, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.
- Sergeant William Barrett
- Private Harry Roath
William Asbury was born in Birmingham in 1889 to parents, William (an iron caster) and Emma. He was baptised on 7th July 1889 at St Stephen’s Church, Birmingham. His older sister, Alethea, and younger brother, Thomas, were also baptised there in 1887 and 1894 respectively.
It looks as if their father, William (senior) died in 1894 at the age of 34 and their mother seems to have died, aged 36, at the end of 1897. However, she is still listed as next-of-kin with an address of 51 Princip Street, Birmingham when the three children were all admitted to Marston Green Cottage Homes on 5th January 1898. They seem to have remained there throughout the rest of their childhoods. The Homes had opened in January 1880 to accommodate children who would otherwise have gone into Birmingham Workhouse (now the site of Dudley Road Hospital).