11th July 1916

28-year-old Frank Eden died of wounds at 35th Casualty Clearing Station, Doullens, France on 11th July 1916, whilst serving as a Private with the 2nd Battalion, South Wales Borderers. He was the seventh son out of the nine surviving children (eight sons, one daughter) of John and Maria Eden of New Street, Castle Bromwich.

Seven of the eight brothers – Henry John (1873-1955), Albert Edward (1874-1957), Percy (1881-1966), Fred (1884-1950), Arthur (1886-1916), Frank (1888-1916) and John (born 1890) – served in the First World War. Two of the brothers were killed. Frank was the second of the brothers to die on war service. His older brother, Arthur, had been killed about six weeks earlier. The remaining brother, Ernest (born 1879), had been a regular soldier and, according to a newspaper article on the remarkable family, tried desperately to re-enlist on the outbreak of war, but was unable to owing to a slight lameness in the leg.

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9th June 1916

Second Lieutenant Frank Dudley Evans  from Castle Bromwich died of wounds on 9th June 1916 after a flying accident at Bristol. He was 18 years old and was serving with the 4th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, attached to the Royal Flying Corps (RFC).

The Newcastle Journal 12th June 1916 reported that the engine of his [Avro 504] biplane misfired at about 150 feet, but that he continued climbing to about 400 feet when the aircraft made a very flat turn and nosedived to the ground. Lieutenant Evans suffered a fractured skull. His coffin was draped in a Union Flag, topped with a large floral cross from his comrades, and was borne back to Castle Bromwich on a transport wagon by officers and men of the Royal Flying Corps. His funeral was held at St Mary & St Margaret’s Church, with the choir singing “Lead, Kindly Light” and the large congregation included a uniformed detachment of Red Cross auxiliary nurses, of whom his mother was an officer.

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13th August 1915

13th August 1915 saw the loss of two men from Castle Bromwich, both serving with the Hampshire Regiment, and one man from Barston/Knowle, serving with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment.

  • Private Benjamin James Thomas Harris (apparently known as Thomas) serving with the 2nd Battalion, Hampshire Regiment, drowned after H.M.T. Royal Edward was torpedoed whilst transporting Commonwealth troops to Gallipoli. He was 19 years old.
  • Private Alfred Richard Irons was one of three brothers from the Irons family of Castle Bromwich and Yardley to die in the war. He died in Gallipoli, at sea, whilst serving with the 2nd Battalion, Hampshire Regiment, and is also presumed to have been aboard the Royal Edward. He was 18 years old.
  • Private Joseph Williams died of wounds received at Gallipoli whilst serving with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and is buried at sea.

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Solihull was the only former Rural District Council to become a Metropolitan Borough Council in its own right under the 1972 Local Government Act, which came into effect on 1st April 1974. A little more than 40 years before, workers were taking up the cobbles in Solihull’s High Street – a graphic illustration of the incredibly rapid growth of the Borough. The population had more than doubled in 7 years, from just over 25,000 in 1932 to 52,610 by 1939.

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