30th July 1915

There seems to be some confusion over the date of death of Lieutenant Rev. Frederick Edward Barwick Hulton-Sams, with some sources (e.g. Commonwealth War Graves website, Soldiers Died in the Great War) giving his date of death as 30th July 1915 and others (e.g. his memorial plaque, Soldiers’ Effects register) as 31st July 1915.

Similarly, there is confusion over his date of birth, with some sources reporting it as 21st November 1881, and others as the 22nd or 23rd.

He was the eldest of the three sons and five daughters of Rev. George Frederick Sams and his wife Sarah Beatrix (née Hulton) and was baptised by his father at Emberton parish church, Buckinghamshire on 9th December 1881. He was educated at Bedford Grammar School 1893-5 before attending Harrow and then going on to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was a boxing blue.

He was ordained as a clergyman at St Paul’s, Balsall Heath, Birmingham and served as a curate there. The local connection is that he also apparently served as curate at the Mission Church, Kingswood, Lapworth, which was in the Solihull Rural District at the time of the war. The Mission Church was founded in 1886 by William Lees, primarily to cater for domestic staff employed by the gentry. The present building in Station Lane was built in 1902 and is now the Lees Chapel independent evangelical church.

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26th July 1915

Private William Tarver, 1st Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment, died on 26th July 1915 in France. Born in Solihull in 1880, he was the second of seven children born to Henry Osborne Tarver and his wife, Elizabeth.

Henry and Elizabeth were both born in Gloucestershire, and their eldest son, Thomas, was born there in 1879. They had moved to Solihull by the time of William’s birth a year later, and were living at 19, Blossomfield by the time of the 1881 census. Henry was recorded as a waggoner.

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16th July 1915

Arthur Roberts of Shirley died on 16th July 1915 whilst serving as a Lance Sergeant with the 3rd Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment, apparently having been accidentally killed. He was born in Shirley, the fourth son of Buckinghamshire-born blacksmith, William Roberts and his wife, Elizabeth, who was born in Winterbourne, Nottinghamshire. The family appears to have moved from Yardley Wood to Solihull Lodge sometime between 1883 and 1888.

It’s known that Arthur joined the militia on 5th December 1904, aged 17 years 8 months, serving with the 6th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment. He joined the regular Army on 10th June 1905 at Worcester, giving his occupation as a porter, and his age as 18 years, two months. He had a fresh complexion, dark brown hair and blue eyes and was 5ft 4ins tall by the end of 1905, half an inch taller than when he enlisted. He had also put on weight during the first six months of his service, weighing 132 pounds (9 st 6lbs) compared to 119 (8st 7lbs) on enlistment. An identifying feature was that he had a large, circular scar on his right hip.

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4th July 1915

Although Frank Jabez Meades was born in Olton in 1889, and was killed in action on 4th July 1915, his name is not listed on the Olton war memorial. It looks as if the family moved away from Olton between 1891 and 1901 after at least 10 years’ residence there so, presumably, there were no relatives of friends still in the parish to add Frank’s name to the war memorial.

His short service attestation record gives his place of birth as Yardley. However, this seems likely to be incorrect – he was living with his parents and siblings at Reservoir Cottage, Warwick Road, Olton on the 1891 census when he was aged one, and his entry in Soldiers Died in the Great War lists his place of birth as Olton.

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3rd July 1915

John Dyott Willmot of Coleshill, the second of four children of George Dyott Willmot J.P. (1863-1921) and Nellie Pratchett Willmott (formerly Heatley) (1869-1956), was killed in action in France on 3rd July 1915, at the age of 19. He was a Lieutenant with 6th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment and was born in King’s Norton in 1896, although the family had moved to Blyth Cottage, Coleshill by the time of the 1901 census.

The local connection is that John Dyott Willmot attended Packwood Haugh School before going on to Malvern College where he was known as a great athlete, winning the open high jump in 1913 and 1914 and the long jump in 1914. He was in Mr. P. R. Farren’s house at Malvern, and became a School Prefect. He was a member of the Officers’ Training Corps at the College.

His younger brother, Robert Dyott Willmot (1898-1918), also died on active service in the war at the age of 19, having followed in his brother’s footsteps at Packwood Haugh and Malvern College. Their elder sister, Mary Georgina Dyott Willmott (known as Georgina) (1894-1985), served as a Voluntary Aid Detachment nurse after attending Clarendon House boarding school for ladies in Leamington Spa.  Their parents were commandants of the Vicarage Hospital, Coleshill. The youngest child, Honor Christine Dyott Willmot (1906-1984) was too young to play a part in the war.

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