30th October 1916

Temporary Captain Henry Bardell Adamson, aged 36, a former teacher at Solihull School, died of wounds on 30th October 1916, whilst serving in France with the West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales’s Own).

Born in Foleshill, Warwickshire in 1881, he was the eldest of the three children of Rev. James Bardell Adamson, (Vicar of St Paul’s, Foleshill) and his wife Sarah Sibyl (née Barker). His mother, known as Sibyl, died in 1912 so was spared the knowledge of her son’s death.

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27th October 1916

Daniel Joseph Ferns died of tuberculosis at his home in Dingle Lane, Solihull on 27th October 1916. Having been discharged from the Army on 5th August 1916, the former Sapper isn’t included on the Commonwealth War Graves records. However, he is recorded on Solihull war memorial and at St Augustine’s Catholic Church, so was obviously considered by the community to have been a war casualty. A letter dated 27th December 1916 awarding a pension to his widow also indicates that the War Office accepted that his death was as a result of his war service.

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24th October 1916

Second Lieutenant Herbert Denis Phillips was killed in action on 24th October 1916, aged 26. Originally gazetted to the 10th Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment, he was attached to 5th Company Machine Gun Corps (Infantry). He is buried at Stump Road Cemetery, Grandcourt, and is also commemorated on the war memorial at St Margaret’s Church. Olton.

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23rd October 1916

Two local men died on 23rd October 1916. Private Oscar William Bowen, 3rd Battalion Warwickshire Volunteer Regiment died at home, Ladbrook Park, Tanworth-in-Arden, and Driver Charles Henry Haynes, 31st Bde. Small Arms Ammunition Column, Royal Field Artillery who was killed in Salonika when his dugout collapsed.

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22nd October 1916

Sergeant Hugh James Smith died on 22nd October 1916 serving with the 17th Battalion King’s Royal Rifle Corps.

Although he was born in Bitteswell, Leicestershire, his parents, James and Harriet, were both from Berkswell, and Hugh was brought up in Hampton-in-Arden. Research by Clive Hinsull in Hampton-in-Arden: those who served 1914-18 indicates that Hugh attended George Fentham School in the village before enlisting as a regular soldier in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps. He served in South Africa 1899-1902 and in Somaliland 1902-1904.

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21st October 1916

Private Bernard George Wright, 13th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment, died on 21st October 1916. He was born in Berkswell on 29th May 1879, where his parents Walter Henry and Catherine (née Merry) had been schoolmaster and schoolmistress respectively from at least 1871 until c. 1880. He was baptised at All Saints, Coventry on 29th October 1879. All of his siblings – Arthur Ernest (born 1870), Rose Edith (born 1871), and Frederick Walter (born 6th October 1873) were born in Berkwsell.

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15th October 1916

Private Charles Basey, 9th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment, died of enteric fever on 15th October 1916 and is buried at Salonika (Lembet Road) Military Cemetery, Greece.

Enteric, or typhoid, fever was spread by the ingestion of food or water contaminated by faeces, and was a significant problem given the poor hygiene and lack of sanitation in the trenches. The ever-present vermin and flies ensured that typhoid fever was a common affliction among First World War soldiers.

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14th October 1916

Corporal Horace Leslie Hill died as a result of wounds received whilst riding a motor cycle on active service, having enlisted in the motor cycle section of the Royal Engineers in August 1914. Born in Birmingham just three weeks before the 1891 census was taken, Horace was the third of the six children (four boys, two girls) of parents George Frederick (an iron plate manufacturer) and Ellen Elizabeth. He attended Camp Hill Grammar School and, prior to enlistment, was employed by printing company Billings Bros., St Paul’s Square, Birmingham.

Between 1901 and 1911 the family moved from Birmingham to Claremont, St Bernard’s Road, Olton. By this time George Hill was recorded as a galvanizer and japanner. Information from researchers at St Margaret’s Church, Olton is that Horace was one of the church’s first servers.

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