Captain Charles Murchison Bernays, formerly of the Royal Army Medical Corps, died on 6th January 1920 in the Royal Victoria Hospital, Dover, aged 39. His death was attributed to haemorrhage as a result of his having been badly gassed in 1917 whilst on active service. Prior to the outbreak of war, he had been practising as a doctor in Shirley but at the time of his death he was house surgeon at the hospital where he died.
Francis George Harris, formerly a Gunner with the Royal Garrison Artillery, died at Birmingham General Hospital on 29th December 1919. He had been discharged from the Army in March 1919 so does not appear as a war casualty on official records, although he is commemorated locally in the Soldiers’ Chapel, Knowle. He is also listed on the Roll of Honour for Packwood amongst those who served.
Former Private Thomas Paget, Warwickshire Regiment, died on 20th December 1919 at City Isolation Hospital, West Heath, Birmingham aged 43. He was a former labourer and died of TB contracted whilst on active service.
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, builder, causing the Rector of Solihull to note: “everything connected with it has been done in our village, which is as it should be.”
Lieutenant Colonel Rowland John Beech died on 30th August 1919, aged 64, whilst Commander of the Warwickshire Yeomanry. He had served in France with the 36th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery during the First World War but was invalided home in 1918.
Major the Honourable Rupert Leigh died at Stoneleigh Abbey on 14th August 1919, aged 62. He served with the War Office general staff from 1915 until his death, having been a pupil at Sandhurst and a career officer with 15th (King’s) Hussars and the 4th (Royal Irish) Dragoon Guards.
Private Ernest Vivian Freeman, Royal Army Medical Corps, aged 22, died at 10pm on 19th July 1919 whilst serving with the 3rd British General Hospital in Iraq. The telgram sent to his mother gave his cause of death as influenza, although entries in his service record first indicated the cause of death as cholera, before stating influenza (acute septicaemic type)
He was born in Olton and baptised at St Margaret’s Church on 20th June 1897.
Private Wilfred Garner died of pneumonia on 28th June 1919 at 250 Highbridge Road, Boldmere, Sutton Coldfield, aged 20. He had served in the Army from 1915 until discharge on 20th March 1919.
Private George Harold Timms Poole, Royal Army Veterinary Corps, died on 27th June 1919 when he accidentally drowned whilst serving with the 4th Cavalry. He is commemorated on the Jerusalem Memorial to the Missing. Researchers in Meriden have discovered that he was buried 150 yards south-west of Homs Railway Station, Syria, but the grave must have been lost, hence his commemoration on the Jerusalem Memorial.
On 21st June 1919 a Welcome Home Gala Day was held at Elmdon Park by cycling clubs from across Birmingham and Coventry. Organised by the Cyclists’ Touring Club, the National Cyclists’ Union and the Midland Cyclists’ Association, the event was to welcome home those with a cycling connection who had served in the war.