Second Lieutenant Robert Dyott Willmot, 2nd Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps, was killed in action on 17th February 1918, dying at St. Julien Dressing Station Cemetery at Langemark-Poelkapelle, West Flanders. He was the second of the two sons of parents, George Dyott Willmot and Nellie Pratchett Willmot (formerly Heatley) to be killed in the war. His elder brother, John Dyott Willmot, had been killed on 3rd July 1915.
Robert Dyott Willmot was born in 1898 in Edgbaston and was the third of four children (two boys, two girls). Eldest sister Mary Georgina Dyott Willmott (1894-1985), who was known as Georgina, served as a Voluntary Aid Detachment (V.A.D.) nurse with the Red Cross from October 1914. The youngest child, Honor Christina Dyott Willmot (1906-1984) was too young to have served in the war, but parents George and Nellie were both Commandants at the Vicarage Hospital, Coleshill from 1915-1919.
The local connection is that Robert attended Packwood Haugh preparatory school 1908-1912 before going on to Malvern College where he was a second school prefect, head of his house, and a cadet officer with the Officer Training Corps (OTC). He also obtained house colours for cricket and football, and was a member of the school’s second eleven at football. On leaving college, he joined the OTC at Cambridge.
On his death, his Major quoted from the brigade report:
“The battalion has lost a very gallant officer in Second-Lieutenant Willmot, who, only a boy, had shown much promise, and was greatly beloved by his men.”
The Coleshill Chronicle, 2nd March 1918, noted that “The loss of both sons in the war is a tragedy which is keenly felt throughout the district, and universal sympathy has been expressed with Mr and Mrs Willmot.”
Robert Dyott Willmot is buried at St Julien Dressing Station Cemetery, and he is also commemorated on Coleshill War Memorial and on Packwood Haugh roll of honour.
If you have any further information, please let us know.
Heritage & Local Studies Librarian
tel.: 0121 704 6977