Two local men died on 6th December 1917 whilst on active service in France. Private Claude Hunt, 2/8th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment died of wounds, whilst Lance Corporal Arthur William Wood 2nd/6th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment was killed in action.
Claude Hunt was born in Tanworth-in-Arden on 30th December 1880 and was the youngest of the 12 children of parents Thomas, a gamekeeper, and Caroline (née Kent) who had married in Caroline’s home village of Brereton, Staffordshire in 1855. The couple set up home in Longdon, Staffordshire and their first nine children were born there between 1856-1873. The remaining three were born in Tanworth 1877-1880.
Claude followed his father’s profession of gamekeeper, as did two of his brothers – Samuel (born 1868) and Frederick (born 1870). However, by the time of the 1911 census, Claude and Frederick had changed careers. 40-year-old Frederick was a licensed victualler at the “Neville Arms”, Astwood Bank, Redditch, with two of his siblings – Henrietta (45) and Claude (30) working as his assistants.
In August 1912, Claude married Sarah Ann Mason at Baudesert, Warwickshire. We don’t know whether they had any children. By the time Claude enlisted, the family was living in Birmingham and probate records list his address as 37 Dean Street.
He is buried at St Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen and is also commemorated on Umberslade Baptist Church war memorial.
Lance Corporal Arthur William Wood, 2nd/6th Battalion was born in Moseley, Birmingham and was the youngest of the two sons of parents Arthur Graham Wood (a commercial traveller) and Lizzie Lander, who had married at St Mary’s Stafford in 1890. Their eldest child, Richard Gervase Wood (1891-1963) was born in Stafford and baptised at St Mary’s on 24th June 1891.
By the time their youngest son was born, the family had moved to Birmingham. Arthur William Wood was baptised on 12th January 1896 at Sparkbrook. Sometime between 1905-1911, the family moved to The Nook, Streetsbrook Road, Solihull, although they seem to have moved to Erdington by 1912.
Unpublished research by the late Alan Tucker indicates that Arthur William Wood had joined one of the City Battalions in June 1915, and was twice wounded, in May and December 1916. He was an Old Boy of the 1st Birmingham Boys’ Brigade.
Lance Corporal Wood was killed in action on 6th December 1917 and has no known grave. He is commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial, and also in the Birmingham Books of Remembrance at the Hall of Memory. Having only spent a short time in Solihull, possibly as little as a year, his name is not included on the war memorial at Solihull.
If you have any further information on either of these men, please let us know.
Heritage & Local Studies Librarian
tel.: 0121 704 6977