Coronation Day 1937

Wednesday 12th May 1937 saw the coronation at Westminster Abbey in London of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. The date had been chosen for the coronation of King Edward VIII who had become king on the death of his father George V in January 1936. Although, Edward VIII’s abdication in December resulted in a new king and queen on the throne, the coronation date of 12th May was retained.

In Solihull, the event was marked by a three-day carnival, which ran into the Whitsuntide weekend, and many of the villages now in the borough held their own celebrations.

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Burleigh in Wartime, and beyond

“Burleigh in Wartime” was the title written in February 1940 by Clara Milburn on the first page of a soft-backed exercise book. After five months of war she had decided to write a day-to-day account of how she and her small part of the English countryside faced the trials and tribulations of a country at war. Extracts from what turned out to be 15 such exercise books were published in 1979 as Mrs Milburn’s Diaries: an Englishwoman’s day-to-day reflections 1939-45.

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6th October 1918

Two local men lost their lives on 6th October 1918 as a result of their war service. Charles Leonard Ball had been discharged from the Army so doesn’t actually appear on any official records as a casualty, although his name is recorded locally on Olton war memorial. Private Stephen Mumford MM, 50th Battalion, Machine Gun Corps died on active service in France, possibly as a prisoner of war.

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24th March 1918

Sapper Harry Beacham, 126th Field Company, Royal Engineers, was killed in action on 24th March 1918. He was the eldest of three children and the only surviving son of parents Alfred (a bricklayer) and Emma (née Whitehead) of Allesley, Coventry. His younger brother, Walter, died in 1888, aged under one year. His sister, Dorothy (1891-1986) died at the age of 94.

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21st March 1918

Nine local men lost their lives on the first day of the German Spring Offensive (Operation Michael), which saw British troops subjected to one of the longest artillery bombardments of the war. Lasting for five hours from 4:20am, the barrage of over one million artillery shells smashed vital communication lines, and was followed by waves of elite German troops coming over No Man’s Land, which was shrouded in thick fog.  The Germans made swift and significant gains, with the British suffering some 50,000 casualties. British troops were ordered to withdraw, giving up much of the Somme region. However, it was not a decisive defeat, and the British were able to establish new lines of defence, whilst the rapid advance caused German supply lines to become overextended. Continue reading “21st March 1918”

26th October 1917

Four local men lost their lives on active service on 26th October 1917. Three of them were serving with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment – Private Albert Edward Lewis (14th Battalion), Private William Richard Parry (15th Battalion) and Private Albert Charles Thompson (15th Battalion). All three have no known grave and are commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial.

Also killed was Private Sydney West, who was serving with the 58th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (Central Ontario Regiment), having emigrated from Solihull.

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9th August 1917

Private Charles Paston, 11th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, was killed in action on 9th August 1917 and was the third of three brothers to be killed in the war. He was born in Temple Balsall on 17th June 1887 and was the sixth of eight children (three sons, five daughters) born to parents George (a labourer) and Ann (née Treadgold) who had married in 1876.

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