Three men with a local connection died on 7th November 1918 whilst on active service – Private Edward Allen, Reinforcement Depot, Tank Corps; Private George Terheege, Labour Corps; and Second Lieutenant John Shilvock Wright, 219th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery.
Edward Allen was born in Shirley in 1897 and seems to have been the youngest of ten children, five of whom had died by 1911.
Another of the five surviving children, Emily May Allen (1889-1914) died on 24th June 1914, aged 25. Newspaper reports of the inquest indicate that she was in a field near the family home, “Oak House”, Blackford Lane, Shirley with her brother, Frank, and a cousin, Robert McLellan, with the intention of shooting rats. She asked to have a go with the gun, which was cocked and, whilst holding it, it went off, fatally wounding her in the neck.
The parents, William (a sausage skin manufacturer) and Susan (née Price) were both originally from Worcestershire but had moved to Birmingham by the time of their marriage there in 1878. They lived in Birmingham until at least 1891, moving to Marshall Lake, Shirley by 1901 and Blackford Lane by 1911. William died in 1916, aged 63.
We don’t know when Edward joined the Army but he didn’t see any overseas service before 1916. He is buried at Mont Huon Military Cemetery, Le Treport, France and is commemorated locally on Shirley war memorial.
George William Terheege (apparently pronounced “Terridge”) was born in Great Packington in 1883 and was the fourth of the five children (four sons, one daughter) of parents, William (a labourer) and Mary (née Lines) who had married at Great Packington in 1875. William died in 1885 and his widow remarried two years later.
All four sons died young. The eldest child, William (1876-1877) died as an infant, whilst two of the boys – Thomas (1880-1918) and George William (1883-1918) – died in the war. The remaining son, Edward (1877-1915) died in 1915 , aged 37.
George became a farm labourer and, by 1901, had left home and was living in Diddington Lane, Hampton-in-Arden, working for farmer, Isaac Barford, as a cowman. There is another George Terheege (1873-1919) who was born in Great Packington but was an inmate in Meriden workhouse before being admitted to Hatton Asylum in December 1901, where he seems to have died in 1919. He was a first cousin to George William, being the son of Harriet Terheege (1852-1929), the sister of ‘our’ George’s father.
George William Terheege married Emily Ann Dutton in 1907, and they set up home in Hockley Heath, where they had the following children – William (died February 1908, aged three hours); a stillborn son who was buried on 29th April 1909; Ernest William (1912-1979); and Frances Kathleen (1915-1925). There also seems to have been another stillborn son who was buried on 15th March 1917.
We don’t know when George enlisted in the Army but he was initially posted to the Devonshire Regiment before being transferred to the Labour Corps. Private George William Terheege died at 2/1st Southern General Hospital, Dudley Road, Birmingham and is buried at Umberslade Baptist Church. He was 34 years old and is commemorated on war memorials at Hockley Heath and Umberslade.
John Shilvock Wright was born in Birmingham in 1898 and was the third of the seven children of parents, John Shilvock (a master plumber) and Eliza Tydeman, who had married in London in 1893. Two of the children – John Robert (born and died 1895) and Dorothy (1901-1909) – had died before 1911.
The family surname was originally Shilvock, and John (senior) was registered just as John Shilvock when he was born in 1866. However, after his father’s death in 1868, his mother remarried in 1872. The children from her first marriage then adopted their step-father’s surname of Wright. Their surname is listed in some records as Shilvock-Wright. For official purposes the surname often still appeared as Shilvock, which is the name under which the seven children of John (senior) and Eliza were registered.
John (junior) was educated at Solihull School before going on to Stratford-upon-Avon Commercial School and then joining his father in the family sanitary engineering business in Dale End, Birmingham. He enlisted in the Royal Garrison Artillery in 1916 and was commissioned the following year. He was seriously gassed at the Battle of Cambrai and was killed in action near Courtrai.
His youngest brother, William Edward (1900-1975) was a boy soldier, seeing action on the Somme whilst still aged just 15. He was discharged in September 1916 as being under-age, but rejoined when was of military age, and was in training for a commission at the time of his brother’s death. William (“Billy”) became a Solihull councillor and alderman. In 1937, he paid for a window on the north wall of north aisle of St Alphege Church, Solihull, in memory of his brother.
Second Lieutenant John Shilvock Wright is buried in Vichte Military Cemetery and is commemorated on war memorials at Solihull and Solihull School.
If you have further information on any of these men, please let us know.
Heritage & Local Studies Librarian
tel.: 0121 704 6977