Three local men lost their lives on 9th October 1916: Private Ernest Davis and Private Charles Thomas Field, both of the 6th Battalion, Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry; and Rifleman Reginald Henry Whorwood, 1st/9th Battalion London Regiment (Queen Victoria’s Rifles).
35-year-old Private Harry Edgington died in France on 8th October 1916 serving with the 13th Battalion Canadian Infantry.
He was born in Earlswood and, although his date of birth is given in Army attestation papers as 23rd December 1882, it seems he was three months old at the time of the 1881 census, so it’s likely that his birth was actually on 23rd December 1880.
Rifleman John Thomas Harrison was killed on 7th October 1916, aged 20, whilst serving with the 1st/8th Battalion London Regiment (Post Office Rifles). Also killed was 35-year-old Lance Corporal Robert Dudley, 8th (Service Battalion), The Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment).
Private Edgar Charles Frost, aged 21, of the 23rd Battalion Middlesex Regiment, and Private Frederick Edgar Grimes, aged 29, of the 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards, both died of wounds in France on 5th October 1916.
Two local men from Knowle died in France on 4th October 1916, whilst serving with the 7th Battalion Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent Regiment). The men – 35-year-old Lance Corporal William Abraham John Bird and 29-year-old Private George Samuel Thompson were friends and had sung together in the choir at Knowle parish church. They were killed by the same shell.
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).
Gunner Josiah Wilkinson, aged 20, died of wounds on 1st October 1916, whilst serving with “A” Bty. 77th Bde. Royal Field Artillery. He was born in Meriden and baptised at St Laurence’s Church, Meriden on 8th November 1896. He was the second of the three children (all boys) of parents William (a farm labourer) and Annie. His two brothers – William and Frank – were born in 1895 and 1899 respectively.