Private Harry Bradford Kerbey, 2nd/6th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment, died in the Military Hospital, South Tidworth, Hampshire, on 29th March 1916 and is buried in Sutton Road Cemetery, Southend-on-Sea.
He was born in Charmouth, Dorset and was the second-youngest of the nine children of a General Practitioner, Dr William Holman Kerbey, and his wife, Fanny (née Bradford). Dr Kerbey died in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex on 28th June 1908. His widow, who was born in Leominster, Herefordshire, and her youngest daughter were recorded as visitors in Birmingham in 1911. Harry Kerbey doesn’t appear to be on census returns in 1911 but Soldiers Died in the Great War gives his residence as Olton and his place of enlistment as Birmingham.
In 1901, 14-year-old Harry was at boarding school in Salisbury, living in Bourne Avenue at what was at the time a grammar school but which became Chafyn Grove prep school in 1916.
It looks as if Harry became a telegraphist and emigrated to South Africa, returning to England in September 1915 from Natal. The passenger manifest noted his age as 28 and his last country of permanent residence as South Africa, which may explain his absence from the 1911 census. It was, presumably, at this time that he briefly resided in Olton before enlisting in the Army in Birmingham.
There appears to be no medal index card for Harry, suggesting that he didn’t serve overseas before his death which took place just over six months after his return to Britain.
His mother died three months after her son, both of them having their address recorded in probate records as 53 Boscombe Road, Southend-on-Sea.
If you have any more information about the Kerbey family and the connection with Olton, please let us know.
Heritage & Local Studies Librarian
tel.: 0121 704 6977
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