1st July 1916

At “zero hour” – 7.30am on Saturday 1st July 1916 – officers in the trenches blew whistles and British troops scrambled up ladders along a 14-mile stretch of the Western Front. As instructed, they advanced at a slow, steady pace across No Man’s Land. They were met with a hail of German machine-gun and rifle fire. Accurate German shell barrages of the Allied assembly trenches also cut off their lines of support.

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1st July 1916 – Solihull and Shirley

Seven men with a connection to Solihull or Shirley are known to have died on 1st July 1916:

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1st July 1916 – Olton

Five men with a connection to Olton are known to have lost their lives on 1st July 1916:

      • Lance Corporal John Herbert Hockley, Royal Newfoundland Regiment
      • Second Lieutenant Horace Birchall Jones, North Staffordshire Regiment
      • Lieutenant Donald George Harding Truman, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
      • Private Leslie Waters, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
      • Private Albert Weale, Royal Warwickshire Regiment

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1st July 1916 – Knowle etc

Nine local men with a connection to the area around Balsall Common, Knowle and, Dorridge died on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 1st July 1916:

Three of the men – John Balkwill, Thomas Cooper, and Stratford Ludlow, are commemorated in a stained glass window in the Soldiers’ Chapel at Knowle Parish Church, which was given in memory of Stratford Ludlow by his father, Brigadier-General Ludlow. It was dedicated by the Bishop of Birmingham on 5th June 1921.

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