26th April 1917

Sergeant Frank Webb, aged 29, died on 26th April 1917, serving with 11th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Born in Barston on 28th December 1888, he was baptised at St John Baptist Church, Berkswell on 31st March 1889. He was the third of the four children of parents Thomas (an insurance agent for the Prudential Assurance Co.) and Jane (née Bray) who had married at St Mary’s Church, Warwick in 1882.

After their marriage in Warwick, the couple set up home in Berkswell, where their eldest two children, Thomas (born 1883) and Georgina Hannah (1886-1966) were both born. By 1888, when Frank was born, they were living in Eastcote, Barston, although Frank was baptised at Berkswell, as was the youngest of the four children, Amos Joseph (1890-1970), who was born in Allesley, where the family lived from at least 189o until at least 1901. By 1911, parents Thomas and Jane were at Hearsall Common, Coventry, where they seem to have remained until at least the 1920s.

According to the 1911 census, 22-year-old Frank was living with his parents and working as a gardener, as was his brother, Amos, aged 21. Their father, Thomas, had obviously changed careers and was listed as a nursery gardener, working on his own account so, presumably, the two boys were working with their father. Their eldest brother, 27-year old Thomas, had left home and was working as a Police Constable in Erdington, Birmingham, whilst their sister, Georgina, had also left home and was a house parlourmaid in Keresley. Shortly after the census was taken, she married Herbert Wall.

It seems that sometime between 1911 and 1915, Frank had changed careers and joined the police force, becoming a police officer with Coventry Police. He enlisted in the Army in June 1915 and, according to the City of Coventry Roll of the Fallen 1914-1918, died of wounds on 26th April 1917. He is buried at Duisans British Cemetery, Etrun.

As the family had left Berkswell some 20 years previously, Frank is not included on Berkswell war memorial, nor is he listed on the war memorial at Allesley, where he grew up.

His brother, Amos Joseph married Beatrice Nellie Leeson in 1930 at Berkswell after the death in 1925 of his first wife, Elsie Ella (née Reynolds). Their son, James Frederick Webb died in Germany in 1943, aged 22. Beatrice was a widow – her first husband Harry Smitten had died in 1927. Harry was a brother of Frank Smitten, who was killed in 1916 during the Battle of Jutland.

If you have any further information about the family, please let us know.
Tracey
Heritage & Local Studies Librarian
tel.: 0121 704 6977
email: heritage@solihull.gov.uk 

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