Private Tertius Beniah Baldwin died at Edmonton Military Hospital on 18th July 1916 whilst serving with 134 Motor Transport Company, Army Service Corps. He was born in 1894 and was the eldest of the seven children (five sons, two daughters) of Thomas Walter Baldwin (a farmer) and his wife Amy Kate (née Lichfield) who had married in May 1893 at All Saints Church, Hockley, Birmingham. They set up home at Blounts Hole Farm, Trueman’s Heath, Hollywood where they lived until at least the early 1920s.
Private Victor George Houghton, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, was killed in action on 14th July 1916, serving with the 1st/7th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He was born in Hockley Heath in 1897, and was the third of the four children (three sons, one daughter) of John (a shoemaker) and Ruth Elizabeth (née Waters) who had married in 1892.
28-year-old Frank Eden died of wounds at 35th Casualty Clearing Station, Doullens, France on 11th July 1916, whilst serving as a Private with the 2nd Battalion, South Wales Borderers. He was the seventh son out of the nine surviving children (eight sons, one daughter) of John and Maria Eden of New Street, Castle Bromwich.
Seven of the eight brothers – Henry John (1873-1955), Albert Edward (1874-1957), Percy (1881-1966), Fred (1884-1950), Arthur (1886-1916), Frank (1888-1916) and John (born 1890) – served in the First World War. Two of the brothers were killed. Frank was the second of the brothers to die on war service. His older brother, Arthur, had been killed about six weeks earlier. The remaining brother, Ernest (born 1879), had been a regular soldier and, according to a newspaper article on the remarkable family, tried desperately to re-enlist on the outbreak of war, but was unable to owing to a slight lameness in the leg.
Private Philip Salt, 8th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment, was killed in action on 10th July 1916. Born in Handsworth in 1890, he was the only child of parents John (a coachman, born in Upton Warren, Worcestershire) and Eliza Jane (born in Dunley, Worcestershire), who had married in 1889.
By 1901, the family had moved to Bentley Heath, moving to Copt Heath by 1911. Philip became a gardener, and was living at Umberslade in 1911. His service record appears not to have survived but his medal index card indicates that he entered a Theatre of War (France) on 26th August 1915, so it’s known that he was a volunteer, not a conscript.
Philip Salt was initially posted as missing, and the Birmingham Weekly Post of 30th September 1916 carried an appeal by his father for further information. His body was never found, and his name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial. He is also commemorated locally on war memorials at Solihull and Knowle.
Tragically, his mother, Eliza, was killed in February 1925 when a tree fell on her during a gale where the winds reached 78 miles per hour. His father, John, continued to live in Copt Heath and, by the time the 1939 Register was taken on 29th September 1939, he was aged 79, living alone in Jacobean Lane, with his occupation listed as retired groom. He died later that year.
If you have any further information about Philip Salt or his family, please let us know.
Heritage & Local Studies Librarian
tel.: 0121 704 6977
We don’t have very much information about Company Sergeant Major Arthur Callaghan who was killed in action on 7th July 1916 whilst serving with the 9th Battalion Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment). He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. He is also commemorated locally on the Hockley Heath war memorial, as well as on memorials in St Thomas’s Church, Hockley Heath, and Umberslade Baptist Church.
40-year-old Private James Stephen Wrench, of Bentley Heath died of fever in Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq) on 6th July 1916. He was born in Leamington Spa in 1875, where his father, James, worked as a cabinet maker. James Stephen Wrench had moved to Knowle by March 1900 when he married Louisa Gibbs at the parish church. By 1911, the couple were living in Bentley Heath. Their only child, May Louisa Wrench, was born in 1900 and lived in the local area until her death in 1973.
Private Walter Charles Taylor of “C” Company, 7th Battalion, the South Lancashire Regiment died on 5th July 1916. He was recorded by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as being 18 years old, although his service record gives his age on enlistment on 23rd April 1915 as 19 years and three days. It seems that he lied about his age as, although 18-year-olds could enlist, soldiers couldn’t serve overseas until they had reached the age of 19.
27-year-old Albert Theodore Vardy from Lapworth was killed on 4th July 1916, serving as a Second Lieutenant with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He was the only son of parents Rev. Albert Richard Vardy and Isabel Mary and was born on 7th August 1888, being baptised at Lapworth on 5th November 1888. He had two older sisters, Winifred Isabella (1874-1931) and Constance Mary (1885-1899).
Two men with a local connection are known to have died on 3rd Jul 1916 as a result of their war service:
- Lieutenant Colonel William Burnett DSO, attended Solihull School
- Second Lieutenant Siegfried Thomas Hinkley, attended Packwood Haugh School
Four local men are known to have died on 2nd July 1916, all serving with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment:
- Private John Franklin, of Olton
- Drummer Frank Nash, of Shirley
- Private William Richard Pittom, of Shirley
- Second Lieutenant Cyril George Williamson, former pupil of Solihull School