13th October 1918

Private Arthur Hancox, 11th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment was born in Castle Bromwich in 1893, and was the eleventh of the twelve children (six sons, six daughters) of parents, William (a shepherd) and Ann (née Ray). The family lived in a cottage on Hodge Hill Common, Castle Bromwich for at least 30 years between 1881-1911. The couple married at SS Peter & Paul, Aston in 1871, when they both lived at Castle Bromwich.

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11th October 1918

Private Edward Victor Courtnell died on 11th October 1918 whilst serving with the 3rd Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment. He was born in Lapworth and baptised there a few months before his mother, Mary Charlotte (known as Lottie), married labourer William James Courtnell. His birth and baptism were registered under his mother’s maiden name of White.

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9th October 1918

Private Edmund Knight died in Belgaum (now Belagavi), India on 9th October 1918 whilst serving with the 9th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He was born in Berkswell in 1888 and was the younger of the two sons of parents William (an agricultural labourer) and Harriet (née Tomes) who had married in the Rugby district in 1882.

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6th October 1918

Two local men lost their lives on 6th October 1918 as a result of their war service. Charles Leonard Ball had been discharged from the Army so doesn’t actually appear on any official records as a casualty, although his name is recorded locally on Olton war memorial. Private Stephen Mumford MM, 50th Battalion, Machine Gun Corps died on active service in France, possibly as a prisoner of war.

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4th October 1918

Private Matthew Willison, 17th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery died of wounds on 4th October 1918, aged 28. Born in Birmingham in 1890, he was the youngest of the three sons of parents James (a labourer) and Clarissa (née Breese) who had married at St Andrew’s Church, Bordesley  in 1882. It seems that James had previously been married to Clarissa’s sister, Jane Fawn Breese, who died in 1881, aged 29. James and Jane had one son, Arthur Ernest (born 1876).

Despite several attempts to change the legislation, marrying the sister of a deceased wife was prohibited under the Marriage Act 1835. It wasn’t until 1907, when the Deceased Wife’s Sister’s Act was passed by Parliament, that it became lawful. Similar legislation enabling widows to marry the brother of their deceased husband wasn’t passed until 1921.

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