31st January 1916

Private Joseph Harrison, who died on 31st January 1916 serving as a Private with the 1st Battalion, King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, was born in Baddesley Clinton, Warwickshire in 1887. Apart from his war service, he seems to have lived in Baddesley Clinton for his whole life, as did many of his family, who seem to have had a long association with Baddesley Clinton Hall as servants.

On the 1891 census, all four of the live-in female servants (housekeeper, cook, housemaid and kitchen maid) were members of the Harrison family – the sister of Joseph’s father, and three of her nieces.

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21st January 1916

Lieutenant Robert Laurence Needham, known as Laurie, was killed in action in Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq) on 21st January 1916 during the Siege of Kut el Amara (the First Battle of Kut), 100 miles south of Baghdad.

Born in Brighton on 10th April 1889, Laurie and his younger brother, Frederic Gilbert (known as Gilbert), both attended Solihull School after boarding at a private school in Brighton.

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17th January 1916

Second Lieutenant Charles Hugh Davies died in France on 17th January 1916 after a piece of shrapnel pierced the roof of his dug-out and struck him on the head as he was sleeping. He was 28 years old and was serving with the 9th Battalion Welsh Regiment. Although born in Stoke Bishop, Bristol in June 1887, his father, Thomas Davidson Davies, was from Camarthenshire, Wales.

Charles was the eldest of the three sons of Thomas Davidson Davies (Chief Mathematical Master at Clifton College) and his wife, Elinor Lucy (née Thomas). His local connection to the Solihull area is that he was a boarder at Packwood Haugh School from 1899 until 1901 when he went on to Rugby School, winning a General Exhibition before he left in 1905. He went up to Magdalen College, Oxford with a Classical Demyship (scholarship).

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9th January 1916

On 9th January 1916, 43-year-old former builder’s labourer, Charles Day, died at the General Hospital in Alexandria, serving as a Private with the 9th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment.

He was born in Knowle in 1872 to parents John (an agricultural labourer) and Ann Day, and was the fifth of their six children to be born in the village 1864-1874. Ann had two older children from her first marriage to George Day, who was actually the older brother of her second husband. Ann and George married in 1855 at St Martin’s Church, Birmingham, but George died in 1860, aged 26. In 1864, Ann married his 21-year-old brother, John, at Knowle.

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6th January 1916

Second Lieutenant Guy Llewellyn Gwyther died on 6th January 1916 serving with the 2nd Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment. Born on 23rd July 1882 at Castle Bromwich, he was baptised at St Mary & St Margaret’s Church on 18th October 1882. He was the second youngest of the five children (four sons, one daughter) of parents Julian (a solicitor in Birmingham) and Dorothy Hannah (née Hughes). The two eldest children were born in Water Orton, whilst the other three were all born in Castle Bromwich. All four sons served in the First World War, with two of them – Guy and Philip – losing their lives. Their father, Julian, died in 1908 so was spared the knowledge of the death of two of his sons.

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