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.
An Order of Service for St. Patrick’s Church, Salter Street in 1916 includes amongst the list of local men who died, Lance Corporal Edward Thomas Blackham, Worcestershire Yeomanry. The document notes that he was born on 18th August 1890 and died on 28th August 1915.
Edward’s connection with Salter Street isn’t known – he was born in Balsall Heath, Birmingham, and lived with his parents and two sisters in Sparkhill on the 1901 and 1911 censuses. Probate records from 1915 also give his home as being in Sparkhill.
It’s known that he attended King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys, Birmingham and continued to play cricket for the Camp Hill Old Edwardians. He embarked at Avonmouth with the Warwickshire Yeomanry on 9th April 1915, arriving in Alexandria for service with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force on 24th April 1915. He was killed in action four months later and is buried at Green Hill Cemetery, Turkey.
Although mentioned in the Order of Service, Edward’s name isn’t included on the Salter Street war memorial so exactly what his connection with the parish was isn’t known. If you have any further information, please let us know.
Heritage & Local Studies Librarian
Tel.: 0121 704 6934
Private Sidney Butler, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, who died at sea on 25th August 1915 is commemorated on the war memorial at St Patrick’s Church, Salter Street.
He was born in Kenilworth, Warwickshire to parents Thomas and Hannah (also recorded in records as Annie), who married in 1885. Sidney seems to have been the eldest of eight children who survived infancy out of the 12 children born to the couple.
Parents, Thomas and Hannah, were recorded in Kenilworth on the 1911 census with seven of their eight children: Theresa (16); Jesse (14); Winnie (12); Bertie (13); Nellie (9); Edward (7); and Ethel (3). Sidney was not with them, and doesn’t seem to have been in the Salter Street area. It is possible that he moved to the area between 1911 and his enlistment in the Army.
Sidney is listed on the Kenilworth War Memorial, but we don’t know his connection with Salter Street. If you have any further information, please let us know.
Heritage & Local Studies Librarian
tel.: 0121 704 6934
George Frederick Bevins was born in Sparkhill, Birmingham on 11th June 1896. His father, Henry Sharpe Bevins (1863-1920), was a builder and contractor, born in Birmingham. His mother, Emily (née Payne) was born in Monkspath (according to the 1891 census) or Hockley Heath (according to the 1901 census). The couple had married in 1888 and went on to have nine children, of whom one had died by 1911, and three sons died in the war.
25-year-old regular soldier, Corporal Adam Edgar, died on 19th June 1915 serving with the 2nd Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment.
Born in Hockley Heath in 1890, Adam Edgar’s family lived at Mows Hill Farm, Hockley Heath, with his father (also called Adam) working as a shepherd. At the time of the 1891 census, Adam (senior) and his wife, Sarah Ann, had five children aged between five months and five years old. By 1901, they had 11 children aged between seven months and 15. Adam (senior) is recorded on the census as being born in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, whilst his wife, Sarah Ann, was from Tipton, Staffordshire. All of the children were born in the parish of Tanworth-in-Arden.