30th June 1916

Private Edmund Yapp, 6th Battalion, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, was killed in action on 30th June 1916 and is buried in Vlamertinghe Military Cemetery, Belgium. Born in the Bickenhill area, Soldiers Died in the Great War records was living in Shirley at the time he enlisted in the Army.

There is a discrepancy over his first name – the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website simply records him as Private E. Yapp, as does the Birmingham Book of Remembrance. However, Soldiers Died gives his name as Edward, as does the Register of Soldiers’ Effects. The National Roll of the Great War (Birmingham) lists him as Edmund. An article in the local newspaper indicates he was known as Ted:

Birmingham Daily Mail 29 July 1916
Mr Yapp, of 22, Wroxton Road, Yardley, has received a notification that his son, Private E. Yapp (22) of the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, was killed in France on June 30. A comrade, in a letter to Mr Yapp, says that hs son “was firing a trench mortar gun” when one of the shells fell into the trench by accident. Your son, thinking of his comrades’ lives, picked up the shell, and was in the act of throwing it over the parapet, when it exploded, wounding Ted in the back and causing his death shortly afterwards, also wounding two of his comrades. Had it not been for his prompt and plucky action they would all have been killed outright.”

He was born in 1893 and, by 1911, when he was 17, he was working as a greengrocer and living in the family home in Yardley. He was one of 16 children born to parents William (a farm labourer) and Ellen (née Edwards), who had married in Herefordshire in 1875. By 1911, 14 of their children were still living and two had died. Confusingly, Edmund had an older brother called Edward Thomas, who was born in 1878. Edward married in 1899 and died in 1957 so is not the Private E. Tapp who died in 1916, despite the confusing similarity of names with his brother.

We don’t know whereabouts in Shirley Edmund Tapp lived, nor when he moved to the village. He must have moved sometime between 1911 and 1915, although his parents continued to live in Yardley. He is commemorated on the war memorial at St Edburgha’s Church, Yardley, and is not commemorated on Shirley war memorial. Interestingly, his sister, Laura Louise Yapp, married a Shirley resident – munitions worker Joseph Wall – in January 1916.

If you have any more information about Edmund Yapp, please let is know.

Heritage & Local Studies Librarian

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

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