Pioneer William Henry Blizzard, Royal Engineers, died on 1st December 1918 as a result of influenza, complicated by broncho-pneumonia and epitaxis. Known as Harry, he was born at Catherine-de-Barnes and his baptism is recorded in St Alphege Church records as being on 11th October 1891.
Harry was the seventh of the nine children of parents, Charles (a labourer) and Emma (née Woodward) who had married at Ladywood in 1878 and set up home in Catherine-de-Barnes. Emma died in 1907, aged 53, and Charles died in 1920, aged 61.
By 1911, Harry was still in Catherine-de-Barnes but living with his brother, Arthur, and working as a jobbing gardener.
He volunteered for the Army on the outbreak of war, enlisting as a Private with the Royal Army Medical Corps on 12th September 1914. He was transferred to the Royal Engineers and served in the British Expeditionary Force in France from September 1915 until his death.
His service record shows that he was granted leave from 15th February 1918 until 1st March 1918. During this time in England, he married Constance Mabel Hill on 23rd February at Hampton-in-Arden.
He returned to the Front just over a week after his marriage. He died at 47 Casualty Clearing Station in France, and is buried at Maubeuge (Sous-le-Bois) Cemetery. He is commemorated on war memorials at Catherine-de-Barnes, Hampton-in-Arden and Solihull.
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Heritage & Local Studies Librarian
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