29-year-old Private John Henry Bridges died of wounds at no. 19 Casualty Clearing Station on 5th January 1918 whilst serving with the 3rd/10th Battalion Middlesex Regiment. He was born in Notgrove, Gloucestershire and was the youngest of the seven children of parents, Richard (a labourer) and Elizabeth (née Sly) who had married in Stroud in 1873.
Two local men lost their lives on 3rd January 1918 whilst on active service. Private Frederick Herbert Jones, aged 27, died at no. 12 Stationary Hospital, St. Pol, whilst serving with the 402nd Motor Transport Company, Army Service Corps. On the same day, Lieutenant John Francis Tryon‘s submarine, HMS G8, went missing.
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.
Trooper John Hawkins Turner was killed in action on 8th November 1917 whilst serving with the 1st Worcestershire Yeomanry in Palestine. He was born in Duddeston, Birmingham in 1891 and was the eldest son and the fourth of the six children (two sons, four daughters) of parents Horatio George Hawkins Turner (a corn merchant) and Eliza Deakin who had married at Aston in 1886.
Four local men lost their lives on 11th April 1917 whilst serving in France: Lance Corporal William Henry Austin, 1st Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment; Private Colin Clews, 1st Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment; Private Albert Perks, 1st Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment; Private Arthur Henry Pool, 16th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (Manitoba Regt).
Two local men died on 23rd October 1916. Private Oscar William Bowen, 3rd Battalion Warwickshire Volunteer Regiment died at home, Ladbrook Park, Tanworth-in-Arden, and Driver Charles Henry Haynes, 31st Bde. Small Arms Ammunition Column, Royal Field Artillery who was killed in Salonika when his dugout collapsed.
Seven men with a connection to Solihull or Shirley are known to have died on 1st July 1916:
- Private James Burton, Middlesex Regiment
- Private Harold Clifton, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
- Private Frederick Percy Cooper, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
- Second Lieutentant William Henry Furse, Northumberland Fusiliers
- Private John Palmer Lyndon, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
- Private Richard James Smith, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
- Private James Webster, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
Nine local men with a connection to the area around Balsall Common, Knowle and, Dorridge died on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 1st July 1916:
- Second Lieutenant John Balkwill, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
- Second Lieutenant Geoffrey Jermyn Brand, General List (attached 101st Trench Mortar Battery)
- Private Thomas Cooper, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
- Private Walter Jennings, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
- Lieutenant Colonel Maurice Nicholl Kennard MC, West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales’s Own)
- Captain Stratford Walter Ludlow, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
- Private Alfred Mutlow, North Staffordshire Regiment
- Private George Arthur Smitten, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
- Captain Willingham Franklin Gell Wiseman, Lincolnshire Regiment
Three of the men – John Balkwill, Thomas Cooper, and Stratford Ludlow, are commemorated in a stained glass window in the Soldiers’ Chapel at Knowle Parish Church, which was given in memory of Stratford Ludlow by his father, Brigadier-General Ludlow. It was dedicated by the Bishop of Birmingham on 5th June 1921.
Company Sergeant Major Harry Edwards, from Tanworth-in-Arden, was killed in action on 24th September 1915 having served with the Army for 18 years, 291 days. He was a regular soldier who enlisted with the Worcestershire Regiment in December 1896 at the age of 18 years two months, giving his previous occupation as an engine driver. He extended his service in 1904, and was re-engaged in 1908.
He served in South Africa during the Boer War, subsequently being promoted to Corporal in March 1906 and to Lance Sergeant in September 1911. He was mobilised to Egypt on 5th August 1914. After a brief spell of home leave in October/November 1914, he was sent to France on 5th November 1914 and served on the front line until his death. He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) in February 1915 for gallantry in the field on the 9th January 1915 at Neuve Chappelle, in an attack on a German trench during which 30 occupants were killed or wounded. In March 1915, he was promoted to Colour Sergeant and appointed Company Sergeant Major.