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.
Thomas Howard Glover was born in Knowle in 1879 and baptised at Knowle parish church on 7th December 1879. He was the second son of the seven children of farmer Frederick William Glover and his wife, Florence Ada (née Kimbell), who had married at Knowle on 30th September 1877.
In 1881 and 1891, the Glover family was living at Yew Trees, Knowle. Frederick was described as a farmer in 1881 and a farm labourer in 1891. By 1901, the family was simply recorded as living in “The Village” and Frederick was listed as a gardener (non domestic). 21-year-old Thomas was living in the family home and working as a carter for a builder. Thomas married Elizabeth Gould of Pershore in 1904.
In 1911, Thomas and Elizabeth were living in Kenilworth Road, Knowle with their two children, Howard Geoffrey (1904-1973) and Edna May (1910-1986).
Thomas joined the Royal Warwickshire Regiment after the outbreak of war, although he didn’t see overseas service before 1916. He was killed in action on 18th November and has no known grave, so is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. He is also commemorated locally in the Soldiers’ Chapel at Knowle parish church, and at Downing Hall.
Robert Hall was born in Shrawley, Worcestershire in 1877. He was the youngest of the five children of parents David (an agricultural labourer) and Harriet (née Barker). David Hall died in 1879, aged 54, when his youngest son was only two years old. By the age of four, in 1881, Robert was living with his mother, three of his older siblings, and his mother’s widowed father, George Barker. Oldest sister, Susan Elizabeth, aged 13, was working as a live-in servant for a family nearby.
By 1891, Robert was 15 years old, working as an agricultural labourer and still living in Shrawley with his mother and brothers, William (a shepherd, aged 25), and James (an agricultural labourer, aged 20). Their youngest sister, Lucy, was working as a general servant in Grimley, whilst older sister, Susan, was working as a servant for a milliner and draper in Worcester.
Susan seems to have been the first family member to move from Worcestershire to Warwickshire. She married labourer Albert Hampton at Barston Parish Church on 29th July 1899 and the couple then set up home in Lodge Road, Knowle. By 1911, they had been joined by Susan’s 77-year-old mother, Harriet. Susan’s brother, Robert, appears to have moved to the village sometime between 1911 and 1916 as Soldiers Died in the Great War gives his residence as Knowle, although he enlisted in Worcester. It appears that Harriet died in Knowle, aged 87, in 1919.
We don’t know when Robert enlisted in the Worcestershire Regiment, but he appears not to have served overseas before 1916. He was killed in action on 18th November and is buried at Connaught Cemetery, Thiepval. He is on the Roll of Honour in Shrawley Village Hall, although his name doesn’t appear in the Soldiers’ Chapel at Knowle.
William Douglas Henderson was born in Barnard Castle, Durham in 1889 but had moved to Hampton-in-Arden by 1911 when he was an articled accountant lodging with his brothers, Marshall (1879-1941), a bank clerk, and Harry (1884-1949) in a boarding house run by Laura Bint. The boys’ father, Rev. William Henderson, was a Wesleyan minister and the family seemed to move around frequently.
Rev. Henderson was born in Scotland and studied at Glasgow University before training at Headingley Wesleyan College, Leeds. He commenced his ministry in Barrowford, Lancashire and he married Ellen Ann Berry there in 1878. They set up home in Suffolk, and their three eldest children were born in the county – Marshall Alan on 1st August 1879 in March, with daughters Millicent Marie and Lucy Marguerite born in Ipswich in 1881 and 1882.
Between 1882 and 1883, the family moved to County Durham where their youngest sons were born – Harry Stuart in 1883 and William Douglas in 1889. By 1891, when William Douglas was two years old, the family had moved from County Durham to St Just, Cornwall, moving to Rotherham, Yorkshire by 1901 and to Nottinghamshire by 1911. Rev Henderson then worked in Chorley, from where he retired in 1920 after 46 years’ service in the Wesleyan ministry. He spent his retirement in his wife’s home town of Barrowford, where he died in 1922. His wife, Ellen, died there in 1934.
We don’t know when William Douglas Henderson joined the Army, but he did not see overseas service before 1916. He was killed in action on 18th November, aged 27, and is buried at Grandcourt Cemetery, France. He is also commemorated on the war memorial at Hampton-in-Arden. He was originally posted as missing, one of 17 officers killed or wounded in the action. There were 317 casualties amongst the battalion’s other ranks. The following extracts from the 8th Battalion Prince of Wales’s (North Staffordshire) Regiment describe the events 17th-19th November:
MARLBOROUGH HUTS 17.11.16
Training carried on during the morning, bombs B.A.A. Rockets etx. served out to Bn. Conference of officers at 3pm on operations to be carried out next morning. Bn marched off 3pm to STUFF REDOUBT and remained there until 3am 18.11.16.
REGINA TRENCH 18.11.16
Soup and Rum served out to Bn. previous to forming up to attack DESIRE Trench the O.G.l [old German line]. Snow fell during the night and it was very cold.
Exactly at 6.10am the Artillery Barrage opened and the first wave moved off, keeping quite close to the Barrage. After commencement of operations all touch seemed to have been lost with the Battn. The attack having failed, the survivors made their way as best they could to the O.B.l. from where the attack started from in the morning. One officer 2 Lieut A. Sillern in temporary command of Bn. then left. Casualties 17 officers 317 O.R. [other ranks].
REGINA TRENCH 19.11.16
Still holding front trench. Very little hostile artillery but plenty of sniping going on. Bn relieved at 10pm and returned to Marlborough Huts under the Command of Lieut G. P. SMith who had gone to front line and taken over temporary command earlier in the day.Total number returned who had taken part in the attack were 1 Officer, 171 O.R.
The original battalion war diary is held at The National Archives (ref.: WO 95/2085/2) but digitised copies are on the Ancestry website (available free of charge from library computers).
If you have any further information about any of these men, please let us know.
Heritage & Local Studies Librarian
tel.: 0121 704 6977
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