Old Silhillian, Private Albert Edward Else, was killed in action on 14th October 1918 whilst serving with the Army Service Corps, attached to the 251st Siege Battery, Ammunition Column, Royal Garrison Artillery. He was 21 years old and died at Remy Siding, Belgium.
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.
Three men with a local connection lost their lives on 12th October 1918 whilst on active service – Private George Thomas Oakes, Horse Transport and Supply, Army Service Corps; Private Percy Poole, 281st Company, Machine Gun Corps; and Corporal Frederick George Wicketts, 4th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment.
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.
Two men with a local connection lost their lives on 10th October 1918 whilst on active service – 30-year-old Private Wilfred Harry Bayliss, 2nd Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment, and 29-year-old Gunner Arthur Sidney Pope, “B” Battery, 56th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery.
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.
19-year-old Private John Geoffrey Rowley was killed in action on 8th October 1918 whilst serving with the 2nd Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment. Born in Solihull on 27th July 1899, he was baptised at St Alphege Church, Solihull on 20th August 1899.
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.
Two men with a local connection lost their lives on 5th October 1918 whilst on active service – Lance Corporal Thomas Cox Cranmer, 1st/8th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment was killed in France and Private Albert Victor Wiles, 11th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment died in Salonika.
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.