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.
Frederick was baptised at St John’s Church, Kenilworth on 3rd June 1894. He was the third son and sixth child of parents, Frederick (a confectioner) and Selina (née Clarke) who had married at Claverdon in 1886. This was Frederick’s second marriage – his first wife, Mary (née Page) had died in 1884 after two years of marriage, which produced a daughter, Marian Bertha.
Frederick and Selina went on to have ten children born of their marriage: Edith (1886-1971); Charlotte (1888-1974); Louisa (born 1889); Frank (1891-1915); Harry (born 1893); Frederick Clifford (1894-1916); Harold (1896 -1962); Dorothy (1897-1976); Florence (1899-1976); and William (1901-1976). All the sons apart from William (who was too young) served in the war. Their sister, Louisa, also served as a Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) nurse with the British Red Cross.
The family moved to Bentley Heath between 1897 and 1901 and seem to have remained there until the deaths of the parents – Frederick in 1938 and Selina in 1939. It is said that Mrs Baulcombe never got over the deaths of her two sons and, right up until her death, would listen out for trains arriving at Dorridge station, hoping it would be her two boys coming home. The children attended Bentley Heath School, and Frederick was also a member of the choir at St Phillip’s Church, Dorridge. He was the fourth member of the choir to be killed.
We don’t know when Frederick Clifford Baulcombe enlisted in the Army but he first saw overseas service on 21st September 1915. He is buried at Doiran Military Hospital in Greece, and is also commemorated on war memorials in Dorridge, Knowle and Solihull.
The following notice appeared in the Solihull Parish Magazine, January 1917:
BENTLEY HEATH: It has been another sad Christmas for so many people. Our sympathy is due especially to Mr and Mrs Baulcombe, whose Xmas joy has again been clouded by the death, in Salonika, of one of their sons. Mr Baulcombe himself is so unfailing a source of comfort to others in distress that we are certain that we can extend to him and his family the sincere sympathy of all Bentley people.
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