25th July 1916

21-year-old James Enoch Smith died on 25th July 1916, serving as a Private with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He was the eldest of five children, and seems to have been named after his father, James Smith, a platelayer on the railway, and his maternal grandfather, Enoch Harvey, a bricklayer. His paternal grandfather, also James Smith, was also a platelayer on the railway.

James Enoch’s parents, James Smith and Florence Mary Harvey, married at St Peter’s Church, Bickenhill on 15th May 1894.  James Enoch was born in Bickenhill the following year and, by 1901, the family was living in Marston Green.

By 1911, the family had moved to Bradnock’s Marsh, Hampton-in-Arden, although James Enoch was not with his parents and siblings in the family home. We haven’t been able to find him elsewhere on the 1911 census so, if you have any further information, please let us know. It seems that his parents had moved back to Marston Green by the early 1920s.

We don’t know when James Enoch Smith enlisted in the Army but he didn’t see service overseas before 1916 as he wasn’t entitled to a 1914 or 1914/15 Star.  He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. He is also commemorated locally on war memorials at Bickenhill and Marston Green.

His brother, George Herbert Smith, was also killed in the war.

If you have any further information, please let us know.

Tracey
Heritage & Local Studies Librarian

tel.: 0121 704 6977
email: heritage@solihull.gov.uk

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1st July 1916 – Castle Bromwich and Marston Green

Two men from Castle Bromwich  and one from Marston Green died on the first day of the First Battle of the Somme

  • Private John Thomas Churchill, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
  • Lieutenant Robert Quilter Gilson, Suffolk Regiment
  • Private Harry Rudd, Royal Warwickshire Regiment

Continue reading “1st July 1916 – Castle Bromwich and Marston Green”

16th June 1916

Three local men lost their lives on 16th June 1916:

  • Corporal Henry Elliott, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
  • Bombardier Edward Henry Prince, Royal Field Artillery
  • Sergeant Leonard Wilson, Royal Field Artillery

Henry Elliott is buried at the Fauborg d’Amiens Cemetery in Arras, France. Edward Prince and Leonard Wilson are both buried at Hebuterne Military Cemetery in the Pas de Calais, about 20 km south-west of Arras.

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5th April 1916

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.

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15th December 1915

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.

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3rd October 1915

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.

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29th August 1915

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.

Continue reading “29th August 1915”

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