Old Silhillian Claude Malim Messiter, aged 36, was killed in action on 2nd October 1916, serving as a Rifleman with “D” Coy. 1st/9th Battalion, London Regiment (Queen Victoria’s Rifles). Born in Handsworth in 1880, Claude was the sixth of the eight children (three sons, five daughters) of solicitor Frederick Messiter (1839-1925) and his wife, Mary Isabel (1842-1925).
Claude was educated at Willington Prep School, London and Solihull Grammar School, which he left in 1896. He visited Ceylon, and during the Boer War was enlisted in the South African Constabulary. By 1911, he was boarding in Small Heath, Birmingham and was working in the motor trade as a clerk. A few weeks after the census was taken, he married Beatrice M. Shaw and the couple set up home in Hall Green.
Claude volunteered for war service in November 1915, with the Worcestershire Yeomanry, and was transferred to the London Regiment. He went to the Front in August 1916 and had only been in action for 12 hours when he was killed as a result of being buried under the debris from a shell.
He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. His name is not included on the war memorial at Solihull School.
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