23-year-old Lieutenant Percy Lilico was killed in a flying accident at the Royal Flying Corps airfield at Northolt on 16th February 1918, as a result of his aeroplane nose-diving off a steep, low turn. He was born in Wooler, Northumberland, on 30th April 1894 and was the younger of the two sons of parents, Charles Gordon Lilico (1855-1912) and Emily (née Atkinson) (1864-1955) who had married in Edinburgh on 13th January 1890.
Lance Corporal Thomas George Robinson died of wounds on 9th February 1918, serving with the 10th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Known as George, he was born in Copt Heath on 10th May 1895 and baptised at St Alphege Church, Solihull on 4th August 1895.
Two local men lost their lives on active service on 23rd December 1917 – Sergeant Walter Henry Mitchell, 111th Company, Machine Gun Corps, and Able Seaman John Henry Williams, Royal Naval Reserve, serving on HMS Surprise.
Two local men died on 6th December 1917 whilst on active service in France. Private Claude Hunt, 2/8th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment died of wounds, whilst Lance Corporal Arthur William Wood 2nd/6th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment was killed in action.
Gunner Eric Powell Davies, Base Details, Royal Field Artillery, attached to the 1st Army School of Mortars, died in France on 28th November 1917. The Register of Soldiers’ Effects indicates that he was electrocuted, but gives no further details.
Private George Henry Kettle also died on the same day. Known as Harry, he died of wounds serving in France with the 5th Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment.
Second Lieutenant Ralph Thomas Boddington, 1st/10th Battalion, London Regiment, was killed in action in Palestine on 2nd November 1917. He was born in Selly Park, Birmingham, on 8th June 1883 and was the seventh of the ninth children (four sons, three daughters) of woollen merchant, Samuel and his wife Elizabeth Mary (née Pask Hughes), who had married in 1872. Ralph was the second of their sons to die on active service. Their youngest child, Guy Livingston Boddington, was killed in action on 19th December 1916.
Two local men were killed in action on 30th October 1917, both of whom were serving with the Canadian Infantry and both are commemorated on the Menin Gate, having no known grave. The two men were Private Frank Everard Harrison, and Private Aubrey John Kirby.
Four local men lost their lives on active service on 26th October 1917. Three of them were serving with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment – Private Albert Edward Lewis (14th Battalion), Private William Richard Parry (15th Battalion) and Private Albert Charles Thompson (15th Battalion). All three have no known grave and are commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial.
Also killed was Private Sydney West, who was serving with the 58th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (Central Ontario Regiment), having emigrated from Solihull.
19-year-old Gunner Reginald Dare Day, an Old Silhillian, was killed in action on 21st October 1917 whilst serving with the Royal Garrison Artillery. Solihull School during the First World War by John Loynton indicates that he was born in 1899 and entered school in 1910, leaving in 1913 after having passed the Preliminary Oxford Local Examinations.
He didn’t actually serve under his own name but, instead, served under the name William Cartledge Garner. This is quite clear from the Register of Soldiers’ Effects, which includes the name of 78623 William Cartledge Garner with an addition underneath in different handwriting: “alias Reginald Dare Day”. His next of kin is given as his brother, Andrew S. Day.