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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3rd October 1917

Private Keith Garraway Chatfield, 1st Battalion Australian Infantry, Australian Imperial Force, died on 3rd October 1917. We’re not absolutely sure that this is the same Keith Chatfield who is commemorated at Bickenhill, as there seems no obvious link. However, this is the only Keith Chatfield listed on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, and there doesn’t seem to be another Keith Chatfield mentioned in the local area.

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22nd August 1917

Four local men died on 22nd August 1917: Corporal Alfred John Collins, 2nd/4th Battalion, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry; Private Charles Edmund Frost, 6th Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry; Private Albert Maybury, 2/4th Battalion, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry; and Private Frederick George Skidmore, 1st/7th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. The first three have no known grave and so they are commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial.

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10th May 1917

Private George Herbert Smith, 9th Company, Machine Gun Corps, died on 10th May 1917, aged 20.  He was born in Marston Green and was the second of the five children (three sons, two daughters) of parents James (a railway plate layer) and Florence Mary (née Harvey) who had married at Bickenhill in 1894. Two of their three sons were killed during the First World War – the youngest, Sydney Harvey (1911-1997) was too young to serve in the war.

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25th July 1916

21-year-old James Enoch Smith died on 25th July 1916, serving as a Private with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He was the eldest of five children, and seems to have been named after his father, James Smith, a platelayer on the railway, and his maternal grandfather, Enoch Harvey, a bricklayer. His paternal grandfather, also James Smith, was also a platelayer on the railway.

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22nd July 1916

Lance Corporal Collins Jeffreys (sometimes Jeffries) Jones was killed in action during attacks on High Wood, on the Somme, on 22nd July 1916 whilst serving with the 14th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. His older brother, Charles Victor Jones, also a Lance Corporal in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, was killed in the same action on the following day.

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