23rd December 1918

Private Horace Alfred Hawkes, 5th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment, died at Heathcote Infectious Diseases Hospital, Leamington Spa on 23rd December 1918. He was born in Leek Wootton on 15th May 1895 and was the seventh of the eight children (three sons, five daughters) of parents, Thomas and Emily (née Biddle), who had married in Cubbington in 1875.

By 1901, the family had moved to Lyndon End, Sheldon, where they remained for at least seventeen years.

Both of Horace’s brothers – John (1879-1920) and Charles Thomas (1886-1978) – also served in the war. John served with the Canadian Royal Highlanders and died in the USA of illness aggravated by life in the trenches. His name is included on the war memorial at St Margaret’s Church, Olton. Charles, a gardener before the war, served with the Scots Guards 1915-1919 and was an instructor in signalling. He served for 68 days with the British Expeditionary Force in France during August-October 1917 before being invalided home as a result of receiving a gunshot wound to the shoulder at Ypres.

By 1911, 15-year-old Horace was working as a gardener. We don’t know when he enlisted in the Army but his Medal Index Card (available free of charge on the Ancestry website from library computers) shows that he was first posted to the 1st/8th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment, before being transferred to the Worcesters.

His death certificate gives his occupation as a jobbing gardener and the cause of death is listed as (1) diptheria, 7 days and (2) chronic nephritis [inflammation of the kidneys], 3 months.

He is buried at St Giles’ Church, Sheldon, and is commemorated on the war memorial at St Margaret’s Church, Olton.

If you have any further information, please let us know.

Heritage & Local Studies Librarian

tel.: 0121 704 6977
email: heritage@solihull.gov.uk

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