Two local men died on 9th November 1918 – Private Reginald Blamire, 1st Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, and Private Cecil Raymond Nickson, 20th Hussars.
Reginald Blamire was born in Bradnock’s Marsh in 1897 and was the second child and eldest son of parents John (a farmer) and Emily Georgina (née Chivers) who had married in Cardiff in 1893. The couple had six children (four sons, two daughters) of whom one, John Cecil, died in 1899 aged four months. He is buried at Berkswell parish church.
The eldest child, Margaret Irene, was born in Nebraska USA, suggesting the parents settled there for a short time after their marriage. By 1911, the family was living at Windmill Farm, Bradnock’s Marsh, where they seem to have been tenant farmers until they bought the 38-acre farm for £100 15s at auction in October 1941.
We don’t know when Reginald joined the Army and whether he volunteered in 1915 when he became 18, or whether he was called up with the introduction of conscription in 1916. He didn’t see overseas service before 1916. The Register of Soldiers’ Effects indicates that he died of ‘flu whilst on active service in France.
He is buried at Preseau Communal Cemetery Extension and also commemorated locally on war memorials at Berkswell and Hampton-in-Arden. His brothers, Percival (1902-1981) and Arthur (1904-1984) were too young to serve in the war, although Percy did pass his aviator’s certificate in 1938, and it seems that Arthur served in the Second World War.
Cecil Raymond Nickson (known as Raymond) was born in Acocks Green in 1893 and was the fourth of the six children (three sons, three daughters) of parents Horace William (a tailor in Birmingham) and Florence Annie (née Hill) who had married in 1888.
One of the daughters, Hilda Muriel (born and died January 1891) died as an infant, and two of the sons – Raymond and elder brother Stuart Orford Nickson – died in the war. Another daughter, Olive Merle (1893-1933) attended the London Medical School for Women from October 1915, before marrying in 1918. She predeceased her parents, dying in 1933, aged 38. Of the six children, only the eldest son, Dr Horace Clarence Nickson (known as Clarence) (1889-1965) and youngest daughter, Phyllis Elaine Nickson (1895-1973) survived their parents.
Raymond attended Wellesbourne School, Acocks Green and, on census returns in 1901 and 1911, was living in Acocks Green with his maternal grandparents, George Hill (a Methodist minister) and Annie. Before joining the Army, he was articled to Messrs Kimberley and Morrison, chartered accountants, Temple Row, Birmingham.
His parents and siblings moved to Oak Meadow, Warwick Road, Solihull sometime between 1901-1911, and they remained there until at least 1939.
Raymond joined the Army in 1915, first serving with the Nottinghamshire Yeomanry (Sherwood Rangers) before being attached to the 20th Hussars. He was killed in action and is buried at Maubeuge-Centre Cemetery, France. He is commemorated locally on Solihull war memorial, as well as on memorials at Copt Heath Golf Club and Olton Cricket Club.
He is also commemorated on Wellesbourne School memorial, and the war memorial at St Swithun’s Church, Retford, Nottinghamshire. Retford was the headquarters of the Sherwood Rangers.
In 1921, his sister, Phyllis Nickson presented a book (The Priest to the Altar by Peter Goldsmith) to St Alphege Church. She had decorated the leather-bound book in memory of her brothers. The book is now in the custody of The Core Library, Solihull.
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Heritage & Local Studies Librarian
tel.: 0121 704 6977