28th June 1916

Lance Corporal Clive Charteris Latch died of wounds, aged 25, on 28th June 1916 whilst serving with the 9th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. He was admitted to hospital on 25th June 1916, suffering from a gunshot wound to the “upper extremities” and a compound fracture of the wound. He was transferred to the sick convoy the following day and died in hospital in Rouen two days later.

Clive Latch was born on 19th July 1891 in Penarth, a seaside town about five miles south of Cardiff in South Wales, where his father, Arthur, was working as a production manager at the rope factory  of coal magnate Sir George Elliott. Arthur’s grandfather, Joseph Latch, was a former Mayor of Newport.

Arthur commissioned his cousin, Telford Clarence Batchelor, to investigate the problem of the wear of wire rope. Batchelor came to the conclusion that the problem was the round wire, and suggested using flattened cross sections. A patent for locked coil rope was taken out by the cousins in 1884, and a further patent for flattened strand rope followed in 1888 (information from A short history of wire rope).

By 1893, Clive had moved with his parents and siblings to Birmingham. In 1901, the family was living in Edgbaston and Clive’s father, Arthur, was working as a wire rope manufacturer at Latch and Batchelor, Hay Mills.  Clive was the third of the five children of Arthur and his second wife, Emma Constance (née White). The couple married at St Hilda’s Church, South Shields on 21st December 1885, and went on to have five children: Cyril Telford (1887-1944), Arthur Ronald (1890-1960), Clive, (1891-1916) and daughters Margaret Constance (1894-1950) and Kathleen Mary (1891-1971). The boys were all born in Wales, and the girls in Birmingham. Clive attended West House prep school, Edgbaston 1901-1906 and then Tonbridge School from 1907 until 1909, following his older brothers as a boarder at the school’s Ferox Hall.

Clive’s father, Arthur, died on 13th July 1910, with the family home being at the Firs, Elvetham Road, Edgbaston. After her husband’s death, Emma moved to Dunstan House, Elmdon, and she is listed there in 1911, with her two eldest sons and her two daughters. Her youngest son, 19-year-old Clive, was boarding in Hull, where he was working as a ship broker’s clerk.

All three brothers enlisted in the Armed Forces after the outbreak of war:

  • eldest son Cyril joined the Royal Garrison Artillery (T.F.) in August 1914 as a Gunner and was wounded at Ypres in June 1915. He obtained a commission in February 1916, and was seconded to the Royal Flying Corps, being demobilised at the end of the war as a Captain in the Royal Air Force.
  • youngest son Clive was next to enlist, joining up in September 1914, and dying of wounds in Rouen on 28th June 1916, three days after being shot on the Somme. He is buried at St Sever Cemetery, Rouen, and is commemorated locally on the Elmdon war memorial. Probate records give Clive’s address as Haddon, [604] Warwick Road, Solihull.
  • Arthur, the second son, enlisted in the Worcestershire Regiment in February 1916, obtaining a commission in the Tank Corps in February 1917. He was wounded twice at the Battle of Cambrai in 1917, and was awarded the D.S.O. as well as being Mentioned in Despatches in 1918. After being incapacitated for active service, he worked at the Ministry of Munitions before resigning his commission on account of ill health contracted on active service.

Cyril married in 1922, and when his son was born the following year, it seems as if he gave the boy the middle name, Clive, presumably after his deceased brother. Tragically, Midshipman Cyril Clive Telford Latch RNR, died in the Second World War, being killed on 5th November 1940 aboard HMS Jervis Bay, which was sunk by the German ship, Admiral Scheer.

If you have any more information about the Latch family, please let us know.

Heritage & Local Studies Librarian

tel.: 0121 704 6977
email: heritage@solihull.gov.uk

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