Private Neville Bradford Woollaston was killed in action on 7th November serving with the 15th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He was born in Shirley on 26th December 1894 and was registered as Bradford Neville Woollaston. However, he was known as Neville and his first names were transposed in most records.
Neville was the third of the five sons of parents, Nathan Bradford Woollaston (a corn miller) and Catherine Matilda Reeve, who had married at Leamington Priors in 1889.
The couple’s second son, James Bradford Woollaston died in 1893 as an infant, and two of the other four boys – Neville (aged 19) and his youngest brother Alline (aged 22) – were both killed in the First World War. Only eldest son, John Norman Woollaston (1890-1972) and fourth son, Thomas Shirley Woollaston (1897-1971), known as Shirley, survived into old age.
From September 1905, Neville and his brother Shirley attended St James’s School, Shirley, having previously been privately tutored. Neville went on to Solihull School and left in 1910 after passing the Oxford Local Examination. The Woollaston family lived at Colebrook Priory, Shirley and, by the age of 16, Neville had become an assistant to his father, working as a miller and corn dealer at the Priory Mill.
Neville enlisted in the 15th (Service) Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment (the 2nd Birmingham Pals) soon after the outbreak of war. He first entered a Theatre of War on 21st November 1915.
Private Neville Woollaston was one of three other ranks from the 15th Battalion who were killed in action on 7th November 1917 whilst the battalion was moving into Reserve trenches at Bedford House, near Ridge Wood.
He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, as well as locally at Shirley and Solihull School.
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