Two local men died on 19th May 1915. Herbert Samuel Wakelin died at home in Olton on 19th May 1915 and is buried at Yardley Cemetery in Birmingham.
Charles Samuel George, who had spent almost all his childhood as an inmate at Marston Green Cottage Homes, died of wounds in France, whilst serving as a Private with the 1st Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment. He was the brother of Harry George, who had died of wounds on 31st October 1914.
Herbert Samuel Wakelin was one of six children and two sons born to parents Herbert Joseph Wakelin and his wife, Clara (née Heaps) who had married at Holy Trinity, Birchfield, Birmingham on 20th October 1886. Both of their sons died young – their eldest son, Herbert Arthur Wakelin died within three months of his baptism, which took place at Birchfield on 7th July 1889. Their second son, Herbert Samuel, was 19 when he died whilst serving as a Private with the 14th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
Herbert Joseph Wakelin managed a stamping and piercing factory (the Criterion Works, Henrietta Street, Birmingham) and lived in Handsworth prior to moving to Brighton House, Warwick Road, Olton sometime between 1901 and 1911. All six of the couple’s children (Clara Elizabeth, Herbert Arthur, Dorothy, Ida, Herbert Samuel and Gladys) were baptised at Holy Trinity, Birchfield between 1889 and 1896. The baptism registers for the church (and many others in Birmingham and Warwickshire) are available on the Ancestry website (accessible free of charge from library computers).
Also listed in the Birchfield baptism registers is Herbert Joseph Wakelin himself, received into church there on 19th April 1904 at the age of 44 (the entry notes he was born on 10th October 1859 to parents Arthur and Mary Ann). His wife, Clara (aged 41), was also baptised at the church on the same day, as was her sister, Elizabeth (aged 44) and her husband, Harry Charles Bate. Clara and Elizabeth’s parents were listed as Walter Heaps (a builder) and Sarah, his wife.
Herbert Samuel Wakelin does not appear to have received a medal for his war service, suggesting he didn’t serve overseas. He is buried at Yardley Cemetery and is commemorated on the war memorial inside St Margaret’s Church, Olton.
Charles Samuel George was born in Birmingham in 1894, but was admitted to Marston Green Cottage Homes on 14th July 1898, when he would have been almost four years old. His mother, Rosannah George was in Birmingham Workhouse by 1901 and seems to have died in 1908. We don’t know what happened to his father, William Arthur George, a plumber.
Charles was still in the Homes, aged 16, in 1911. He enlisted in the Army in Birmingham and first entered a Theatre of War on 26th December 1914. He died of wounds at no. 6 London Field Ambulance less than five months later, aged 21. He is commemorated on the Marston Green Cottage Homes war memorial, as well as in France at the Bethune Town Cemetery.
The Army Register of Soldiers’ Effects indicates that his back pay was sent to his brother, Arthur, and sisters Selina and Frances. This information confirmed that he was the brother of Harry George, who had been killed in 1914.
If you have any more information about Herbert Wakelin or Charles George, please let us know.
Heritage & Local Studies Librarian
tel.: 0121 704 6977