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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24th August 1917

Private Thomas Duffin, 1st/5th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, died on 24th August 1917, aged 38. He was born in Packwood in 1879 and was the third of the eight children born to parents Thomas, an agricultural labourer, and Jane (née Kirby) who had married at Packwood in 1873 when Thomas (senior), a widower, was aged 48 and Jane was 19.

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5th July 1916

Private Walter Charles Taylor of “C” Company, 7th Battalion, the South Lancashire Regiment died on 5th July 1916. He was recorded by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as being 18 years old, although his service record gives his age on enlistment on 23rd April 1915 as 19 years and three days. It seems that he lied about his age as, although 18-year-olds could enlist, soldiers couldn’t serve overseas until they had reached the age of 19.

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25th April 1916

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.

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28th September 1915

George Lindon was born in 1891 in Packwood, the only son of the four surviving children of Daniel, a farmer and gardener, and his wife, Charlotte Eliza (nee Hull). George became a gardener at Knowle Hall but joined the Army within a month of the outbreak of war. He was killed in action, aged 24, on 28th September 1915, serving as a Private with the 2nd Battalion The Buffs (East Kent Regiment).

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26th July 1915

Private William Tarver, 1st Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment, died on 26th July 1915 in France. Born in Solihull in 1880, he was the second of seven children born to Henry Osborne Tarver and his wife, Elizabeth.

Henry and Elizabeth were both born in Gloucestershire, and their eldest son, Thomas, was born there in 1879. They had moved to Solihull by the time of William’s birth a year later, and were living at 19, Blossomfield by the time of the 1881 census. Henry was recorded as a waggoner.

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13th October 1914

Former bricklayer’s labourer, Henry Simmons (known as Harry), died on 13th October 1914, serving as a Private with 1st Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment.

On the same day, former painter, Private William Shenstone of Bordesley, Birmingham, also died whilst serving with the Worcestershire Regiment. Information from Packwood Haugh School is that this could be the same W. Shenstone who is listed on the school’s roll of honour, although there is some doubt about this.

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12th October 1914

Lieutenant Alexander Nigel Trotter, 3rd (Reserve) Battalion, The Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment) died of wounds in France on 12th October 1914, less than a month after his twentieth birthday.

Nigel, as he was known, was born in London on 17th September 1894 to parents Alexander Pelham Trotter and his wife Alys Fane Trotter (née Keatinge). Nigel had an older sister, Gundred Eleanor Trotter (1889-1975), known as “Gunda”, who was also born in London. Nigel’s local connection with the Solihull area is that he was educated at Packwood Haugh Preparatory School. Referred to now as “The First Packwood”, the school occupied a site in Glasshouse Lane, Hockley Heath from 1892 until 1940, when the school moved to “The Second Packwood” in Ruyton-XI-Towns near Shrewsbury, where it remains today. The original building in Glasshouse Lane has now been turned into 12 apartments, known as Fetherston Grange.

Postcard of changing rooms at Packwood Haugh
Changing Rooms at Packwood Haugh School c. 1920

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