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.
The Birmingham Daily Mail of 7th July 1915 reported the death of Lieutenant Willmot, indicating that he joined the 6th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment (Officers’ Reserve) in October 1914 and left for France in January 1915 as a subaltern attached to the 2nd Battalion.
“The King and Queen deeply regret the loss you and the Army have sustained by the death of your son in the service of this country. Their Majesties truly sympathise with you in your sorrow.”
The brothers are both commemorated on Coleshill war memorial. Their father, having lost both of his sons, became Chairman of the Finance Committee set up to raise funds for a parish war memorial. He died on 25th August 1921, aged 58. His widow married Hugh Percival Chattock in 1924, and they moved to Budleigh Salterton, Devon.
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