23-year-old Reginald Milnes Blakemore died of wounds at no. 36 Casualty Clearing Station, France on 1st August 1916, whilst serving as a Private with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He was born in Knowle on 8th August 1893 and was the third of the four children (three sons, one daughter) of parents George and Catherine. The couple’s three sons were all given Catherine’s maiden name, Milnes, as their middle name.
The eldest child, Edith Sarah, was born in Edgbaston in 1885, when her father, George, was working as a butcher. Edith became an assistant to a draper, and was married in Bordesley in 1914, with her brother, Reginald, signing the marriage register as a witness. Edith died in 1982.
The second child, John Milnes Blakemore, was born in Knowle in 1886, by which time his father, George, was a licensed victualler. John died, aged 7, around the time of his brother Reginald’s birth.
The youngest child, Douglas Milnes Blakemore, was born in Knowle on 7th May 1896. He attested for service in the Royal Army Medical Corps on 3rd June 1915, giving his age as 19 years two months and his previous occupation as a shop assistant. He became a nursing orderly with the 1st Southern General Hospital, then being attached to Hosptial Ship Dover Castle (which was torpedoed in 1917). Douglas returned home in 1919 and was given a testimonial describing him as hardworking, trustworthy and competent, as well as sober, reliable and intelligent. He was recommended for employment in civil life as a male nurse but, by 1939, he was working as a shop assistant in a sports outfitters. He died in 1959.
By 1911, George and Catherine Blakemore had moved from Knowle, where George had been landlord of the Red Lion public house. They moved to Sparkbrook with their two sons, and George was working as a refreshment caterer’s assistant whilst their son, Reginald, was a hardware factor’s assistant. Reginald volunteered for the Army soon after the outbreak of war and first saw service in France on 21st November 1915, landing at Boulogne with the 15th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment (2nd Birmingham Pals).
Private Reginald Milnes Blakemore is buried at Heilly Station Cemetery, Mericourt-l’Abee. He is also commemorated locally at Knowle.
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