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.
William George Gardner was baptised at St Alphege Church on 25th May 1884 to parents George (a gardener) and Jane, who were living at Blossomfield, Solihull at the time. By 1891, they had moved to Church Hill, Solihull, moving to Warwick Road by 1901.
The couple had two younger children, Lucy Mary (baptised at Catherine-de-Barnes in January 1886) and Annie (baptised at St Alphege Church, Solihull in October 1887). Both girls went on to be servants before they married – in 1911 Lucy was a cook at Ravenswood, Homer Road, Solihull, whilst Annie was a housemaid at Blythehurst, Copt Heath. Tragically, the two stepsons of Mr Taylor at Ravenswood – Eric Stones and Shepherd Stones – were also both killed in the First World War.
William George Gardner was working as a printer’s assistant by 1901, and was listed as a weighing machinist on the 1911 census, living with his widowed mother in Warwick Road, Solihull.
We don’t know when William enlisted in the Army, but he was not entitled to a 1914 or 1914/15 Star, indicating that he didn’t serve overseas before 1916.
He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. He is also commemorated locally on the Solihull war memorial, although his surname is recorded as “Gardiner”.
George Henry Minett was the second of four children (three sons, one daughter) of confectioner, Arthur John Minett and his wife, Emma. He was born in Sparkbrook in 1897, although the family moved to Lode Lane, Solihull between 1901 and 1911.
George joined the Territorials in September 1914 and, at the time of his death, had been at the Front for six months. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial. He is also commemorated locally on the Solihull war memorial.
If you have any further information on the two families, please let us know.
Heritage & Local Studies Librarian
tel.: 0121 704 6977