Four local men serving with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment are known to have died on 30th July 1916 whilst on active service; Olton resident, Private William Dobson, 14th Battalion; Private Howard John Hutchinson, formerly of Shirley, (14th Battalion); Private William John Lawley of Shirley (10th Battalion) and Solihull resident, Lance Corporal John Manning (14th Battalion). Also killed was Meriden’s Lieutenant Reginald Ernest Melly, The King’s (Liverpool Regiment). Four of them have no known grave and are commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. Private Hutchinson was also recorded on the Thiepval Memorial but is now buried at the London Cemetery and Extension, Longueval.
Lance Corporal Peter Thompson, of Chadwick End, was killed in action on 29th July 1916 serving with the 10th Battalion Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding Regiment). He was born in Chadwick End on 19th October 1886 and baptised at Temple Balsall on 12th December 1886. His parents were William (a labourer from Knowle) and Hannah (née Woodcock, born in Baddesley Clinton). They had married in 1873 and initially seem to have set up home in Birmingham, moving from Bordesley to Harborne between 1878 and 1881. They lived in Chadwick End from at least 1886 until 1911 and had five children of whom two had died by 1911.
Oxfordshire-born Rifleman George Savage was killed in action on 28th July 1916 serving with the King’s Royal Rifle Corps. Born in Hook Norton in 1895, George was the third of six children born to parents John Embra Savage and his wife, Jane (née Radbourn). The couple’s sixth child, Hilda Annie, was born towards the end of 1904, the same year that her mother died so it seems likely that Jane died in childbirth. Hilda died early in 1905.
18-year-old Private Clarence Alfred Sinclair Smith died on 27th July 1916, serving as a Private with “B” Company, 16th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He was born in Knowle on 27th June 1898, and baptised at Knowle parish church on 14th August 1898. His father, Alfred, was listed as an insurance agent and the family was living at Kenilworth Road, Knowle.
On 27th July 1916, two local men lost their lives whilst serving in France. Private William Webb, from Hockley Heath, serving with 17th Battalion Middlesex Regiment, and Private Walter Henry Percival Wright, from Shirley, serving with 16th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment (3rd Birmingham Pals).
21-year-old James Enoch Smith died on 25th July 1916, serving as a Private with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He was the eldest of five children, and seems to have been named after his father, James Smith, a platelayer on the railway, and his maternal grandfather, Enoch Harvey, a bricklayer. His paternal grandfather, also James Smith, was also a platelayer on the railway.
11 local men lost their lives on 23rd July 1916, eight of them whilst serving with the 14th (1st Birmingham) Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment (1st Birmingham Pals), and one from the 15th Battalion (2nd Birmingham Pals).
Lance Corporal Collins Jeffreys (sometimes Jeffries) Jones was killed in action during attacks on High Wood, on the Somme, on 22nd July 1916 whilst serving with the 14th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. His older brother, Charles Victor Jones, also a Lance Corporal in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, was killed in the same action on the following day.
Two local men lost their lives on 21st July 1916 – 23-year-old Private Dick Neale, 14th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, and 19-year-old Second Lieutenant Rowland Murray Wilson-Browne, 12th Squadron, Royal Flying Corps, who was an old boy of Solihull School.
There are two known casualties from Solihull who died on 19th July 1916: 32-year-old Private William George Gardner (also recorded as Gardiner in some records), 14th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment, and 19-year-old Private George Henry Minett, 2nd/6th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Both lived in Solihull prior to enlisting – William was a printer’s assistant, living on Warwick Road, whilst George’s parents lived in Lode Lane.