Sapper Harry Beacham, 126th Field Company, Royal Engineers, was killed in action on 24th March 1918. He was the eldest and only son of parents Alfred (a bricklayer) and Emma (née Whitehead) of Allesley, Coventry. His younger brother, Walter, died in 1888, aged under one year. His sister, Dorothy (1891-1986) died at the age of 94.
Nine local men lost their lives on the first day of the German Spring Offensive (Operation Michael), which saw British troops subjected to one of the longest artillery bombardments of the war. Lasting for five hours from 4:20am, the barrage of over one million artillery shells smashed vital communication lines, and was followed by waves of elite German troops coming over No Man’s Land, which was shrouded in thick fog. The Germans made swift and significant gains, with the British suffering some 50,000 casualties. British troops were ordered to withdraw, giving up much of the Somme region. However, it was not a decisive defeat, and the British were able to establish new lines of defence, whilst the rapid advance caused German supply lines to become overextended. Continue reading “21st March 1918”
Three local men lost their lives on active service on 9th October 1917:
- Lance Corporal Joseph Richard Andrews, 2nd Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
- Private Albert Edmund Biddle, 148th Company, Machine Gun Corps
- Private Walter Reuben Clark, 1st/7th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment
Three local men are recorded as having been killed on 21st September 1917, the second day of the Battle of Menin Road Ridge: Private Arthur Paget, 10th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment; Private William Skidmore, 8th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment; Lance Corporal Thomas Wells, East Surrey Regiment.
Private Frederick Norman, 1st Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, died of wounds as a prisoner of war in Germany on 12th June 1917. Soldiers Died in the Great War lists him as being born in Knowle, and indicates that he was living in Knowle. However, it seems that he was actually born in Cold Newton, Leicestershire, in 1891. His name is recorded on war memorials at Knowle, Baddesley Clinton, Balsall Common, Chadwick End and Temple Balsall.
Two local men lost their lives in France on 21st May 1917 – Private Charles Bishop, 11th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, and Private John Gardner, of the 14th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
Private Albert Twissell, 16th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment, died on 14th May 1917. He was born in 1895 at Burton Green, situated on the boundary of the parishes of Berkswell, Stoneleigh and Kenilworth, and was baptised at Kenilworth on 14th August 1898.
Four local men died on 23rd April 1917: Private John Evelyn Biddle and Private James Miles, both of the 11th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment; Lance Corporal Thomas Abel Holmes, of 1st Battalion Devonshire Regiment, and Captain Edward Maurice Gonner M.C., of the 16th Church Lads Brigade Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps.
Two local men died on 29th March 1917 whilst serving with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Private Charles Henry Chamberlain, who was born in Temple Balsall, was serving with the 9th Battalion in Mesopotamia (Iraq), whilst Private William King, who was from Solihull, was serving with the 5th Battalion in France.