Two men with a connection to Solihull died on 24th November 1916 – old Silhillian, Private William Anthony Machin, 16th Battalion, Midddlesex Regiment, and Corporal John William Skelcher, 5th Battalion, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry.
Private Frederick Clifford Baulcombe, 7th Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment, died in Salonika on 22nd November 1916. Aged 22, he was the second member of the Baulcombe family to be killed in action. His eldest brother, Frank, died in 1915. Two other brothers – Harry and Harold – also served in the war and survived.
26-year-old Private James Cooney, 4th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, died on 19th November 1916 in Carisbroke military hospital on the Isle of Wight as a result of flu and cardiac failure. He was buried at Olton Franciscan Friary in Solihull.
He was born in Birmingham in 1886 but was orphaned by the age of six. His mother, Catherine (née Finan), died in 1888 at the age of 33, whilst his father, Thomas, died in 1891, aged 38. James and his older sister, Annie, a dressmaker, moved in with their maternal aunt. Their older brother, Thomas, joined the Army in 1898, and served in the Boer War for two years, followed by four years in India. He was transferred to the Army Reserves in 1906, and was called up on 5th August 1914. He was discharged a year later on the termination of his engagement, without having been posted overseas.
Three local men died on 18th November 1916: Private Thomas Howard Glover, 10th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment; Private Robert Hall, 10th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment; and Second Lieutenant William Douglas Henderson, 1st/8th Battalion, North Staffordshire Regiment.
On 17th November 1916, Captain Charles Henry Dwyer was shot and killed by a German sniper early in morning while carrying out a difficult reconnaissance. He was 21 years old, and was serving with the 10th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment.
Merchant mariner Arthur Cecil Johnson, of Barston, also died on 17th November 1916 aboard the cargo vessel, S.S. Serbistan, which went missing at sea.
Private Jack Tandy, “B” Company, 11th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, was killed in action on 16th November 1916 at the age of 20. He was born in Knowle on 3rd October 1896 and was baptised four days later at Knowle parish church on 7th October. He was the youngest of the three sons of parents Joseph, a farm labourer from Barston, and Elizabeth (née Cooper) from Knowle. The couple married in Knowle on 3rd February 1889. His two brothers both died as infants – Joseph William Tandy died in December 1890, aged 17 months, whilst Archie James Edwin died in June 1896, aged 14 months. Elizabeth must have been some five months pregnant with Jack, when her son Archie died.
Tragically, Elizabeth seems to have died as a result of childbirth, being herself buried at Knowle churchyard on 12th October 1896, nine days after Jack’s birth. She was 36 years old.
Private Harry Corbett, 14th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment, was killed in action on 13th November 1916. He has no known grave, and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. One of eight children (two of whom had died by 1911), he was born in 1878 in Small Heath, Birmingham but moved to Olton with his parents, George and Elizabeth, and siblings sometime between 1881 and 1883.
Lance Corporal Richard Eric Bullows died on 11th November 1916 serving with the 1st/8th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He was the only son amongst the five children of parents William, a carpenter, and Sarah, who lived in a cottage at Little Heath, Castle Bromwich from at least 1891 until at least 1911.
Old Silhillian Lieutenant Harold Morley Eyles was killed in action on 6th November 1916 serving with the 5th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment. The 21-year-old was born in Selly Park, and was the youngest child and only son amongst the four surviving children of parents William Henry Eyles and Elizabeth (née Morley). The couple had seven children but three had already died by 1911. Harold’s three surviving sisters were Elizabeth Morley (1886-1952), Clara Clarissa (1888-1950), and Jessica Mabel (1890-1978).
24-year-old Second Lieutenant Shepherd Stones, known as “Shep”, was killed in action on 3rd November 1916, serving with the 5th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers. The youngest of two children, he was born in Sale, Cheshire on 10th October 1892. His father, John Herbert Stones, a paper merchant, died on 2nd July 1893, aged 30, leaving his widow, Elizabeth (née Holmes) with two sons under the age of three. Tragically, both boys would be killed in the war.