Two men with a local connection lost their lives on 5th January 1918. 29-year-old Private John Henry Bridges died of wounds at no. 19 Casualty Clearing Station whilst serving with the 3rd/10th Battalion Middlesex Regiment. 26-year-old Gunner Alexander John Prince was killed in action whilst serving with the 1st/2nd (Lancs) Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery.
John Henry Bridges was born in Notgrove, Gloucestershire and was the youngest of the seven children of parents, Richard (a labourer) and Elizabeth (née Sly) who had married in Stroud in 1873.
Sometime between 1891-1901 the family moved to Winterton Farm, Warings Green, Tanworth-in-Arden, where Richard worked as a cowman. By 1911, the family was at Broad Lane and Richard had changed jobs to become a council roadman. Only one of the children – Arthur George (born 1888) was living in the family home.
It seems that John became a labourer, as this was the occupation he gave when he enlisted in the Army in December 1915. He served for two years and 30 days before his death.
He is buried at Duisans British Cemetery, France and is also commemorated on Tanworth-in-Arden war memorial.
Alexander John Prince was born in Barton-under-Needwood in 1891 to parents William (a joiner and builder) and Mary Ann (née Heath) who had married at Blurton, Staffordshire in 1871. Alex was the 13th of the couple’s 14 children, including two sets of twins. Three of the children – including one pair of twins – died as infants.
The children were: Robert Edward (born 1871); Rose Sarah (born 1873); Alice M (born c.1876); Blanche Lydia (1878-1879); George William (born 1880); Olive Lydia (born 1882); Lionel Arthur (born 1884); Sydney James (born 1885); twins George Heath and Lydia Heath (born 1888); twins Alexander John (died aged eight months) and Eva Margaret (died aged six months); Alexander John (1891-1918) and Leslie Donald (born 1895).
By the time of Leslie’s birth, the family had moved to Barston, Warwickshire, and the children were educated at Temple Balsall School, with the family having moved to Balsall Street.
By the time of the 1901 census, the family had moved to Aston. Alex became a house painter and married Maggie McGibney in Birmingham in 1911. They were living in Gooch Street, Birmingham at the time of the 1911 census and are known to have had two children – Audrey Olive Prince (born 1912) and John Samuel Prince (born 1914).
Having moved away from the area, Alexander Prince is not commemorated on memorials in Barston or Temple Balsall, but he is recorded on Birmingham’s Books of Remembrance at the city’s Hall of Memory.
If you have any further information about either of these men, please let us know.
Heritage & Local Studies Librarian
Tel.: 0121 704 6977
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