Solihull’s war shrine

Easter Sunday, 9th April 1917, saw the unveiling in Solihull of a War Shrine to the Fallen of the First World War, pictured above (image courtesy of Gordon Bragg).

The Calvary shrine was the gift of a parishioner and was designed by local artist Elphege Pippet (1868-1942). It was built by Charles Timms of Messrs. Thompson, builders of Knowle, causing the Rector of Solihull to note: “everything connected with it has been done in our village, which is as it should be.”

On Easter Sunday, after the 9:30am Choral Eucharist, the Rector (Rev. Thomas Beedle Harvey-Brooks (1849-1931)) and Rev. Dr. Arthur James Cooper (1866-1944), Headmaster of Solihull School, accompanied by the Choir, proceeded to the north wall of the churchyard.

At 10:40am the First Post was sounded by four buglers, and then Colonel Ludlow (later Brigadier General Sir Walter Robert Ludlow (1857-1941)) unveiled the shrine. He gave a short address:

I have been requested to unveil this War Shrine, which is erected in perpetual memory of the 39 Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers, and Men of His Majesty’s Army who belong to Solihull and who have fallen in the service of their God, their King, and their Country…

The following names were then read out:

Capt. Stratford W. Ludlow Pte. George Minett
Lieut. John E. Ratcliff Pte. Ernest Davis
Pte. Shepherd Stones Pte. Rowland H. Burgess
Corpl. W. Enos Smith Pte. Arthur Oakes
Corpl. M. [sic] Harrison Pte. Tom Turner
Pte. Matthew R. Barlow Pte. Christopher James
Pte. Henry Troman Pte. Alfred R. Gwinnett
Sergt. J. Stephen Wrench
Corpl. Albert H. Britt Pte. Ernest Clifford
Pte. Edmund Dixon L.-Corpl. James U. Hill
Pte. Cyril Collett Pte. Shirley Coton
Sergt.-Major Sidney Cockayne The King’s Royal Rifle Corps
L.-Corpl. Abraham Rose The Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regt.
Pte. Frank Baulcombe The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry
Pte. Frederick C. Baulcombe The Duke of Edinburgh’s Wiltshire Regt.
Lieut. Harold Beaufort The Prince of Wales North Staffordshire Regt.
Pte. Clive Latch The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
Pte. Ernest W. Lovegrove The Royal Army Medical Corps
L.-Corpl. Sidney Britt The South Wales Borderers
Pte. Harry Perkins
Pte. William G. Gardner The Gloucesteshire Regt.
Pte. William J. Allen The Royal Field Artillery
Pte. John T. Harrison The London Regt. Post Office Rifles
Pte. Philip Salt The Prince of Wales Own West Yorkshire Regt.
Frances Smitton [Frank Smitten] H.M.S. Black Prince
Corpl. Claude P. Wilkes [sic]
Pte. Walter George Riggs 26th Canadian Contingent
Pte. Leslie Wilson Rifle Brigade
Trooper George Lindon 6th Dragoon Guards
Pte. Edward Bright Royal Berkshire Regt.

Following the address by Colonel Ludlow, whose youngest son was listed among the Fallen, the Rector then dedicated the Shrine “to the honour and glory of God”

We dedicate this Memorial trusting that all who pass by may hold in pious memory the sacrifice of our Most Holy Redeemer, who gave Himself for us, and may be inspired to rise to a like call and sacrifice and be ready at all times, and at all cost, to give themselves for others.

After a short prayer, those assembled sang the hymn Ten thousand times ten thousand, and bugles sounded the Last Post. The proceedings terminated with the singing of the National Anthem.

The issues of Solihull Parish Magazine (at The Core Library, Solihull) contain articles by the Rector indicating that names would continue to be added to the war shrine panels.  The Rector also appealed for parishioners to keep vases at the shrine filled with with flowers. He also commented that he liked to see wreaths and small bunches of flowers placed in front of the shrine but that he would encourage them to be removed when the flowers died as, “we want everything to speak of life rather than death.”

The panels bearing the names of the Fallen were superseded by the unveiling on 19th June 1921 of the Solihull village war memorial. The Calvary shrine still remains, and is pictured below on Remembrance Sunday 2018.

Calvary war shrine Solihull
Calvary War Shrine, Solihull, 2018

The Solihull Parish Magazine, May 2017, reveals that the parishioner who donated the funds for the war shrine was actually Colonel Ludlow himself!

Heritage & Local Studies Librarian

tel.: 0121 704 6977

© Solihull Council, 2019.
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3 thoughts on “Solihull’s war shrine

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    1. Hello Matt,

      William Henry Britt is indeed commemorated on the war memorial that was erected in The Square in 1921,but the war shrine pictured above was unveiled on 9th April 1917, so predates Cpl Britt’s death.

      The names that were read out at the unveiling in 1917 appeared in the parish magazine and were on plaques on the wall underneath. These plaques were presumably removed when the war memorial was unveiled in 1921, although the war shrine itself still remains.


  1. Tracey that’s fascinating. I had totally missed the date and dedication of that. Thanks so much. William Henry lived in the cottages at the end of Drury lane (number 81) almost opposite the Royal Oak Hotel. I cannot find any photographs of the front of the cottages- I have one taken in the back by the washhouse.

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