A 1930s marriage of convenience

On 20th May 1936, what we would now call a sham marriage, or a marriage of convenience, took place at the office of Solihull’s Superintendent Registrar, which was then situated above shops on the corner of Warwick Road and Poplar Road in Solihull.

The groom was a gay writer living in Dorridge and the bride was a German-Jewish actress. The reason for the marriage was simply to enable the bride to obtain British citizenship. The couple hadn’t met each other before their wedding day and couldn’t actually speak the same language. As far as is known, they didn’t meet again after their wedding day, although they remained married for the rest of their lives.

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29th December 1919

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.

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27th September 1918

Three officers with a local connection lost their lives on active service on 27th September 1918 – Major Percival Charles Edwards DCM, 15th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment; Captain Edgar Godfrey Izon, 14th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment; and Lieutenant Maurice Jones, of the East Lancashire Regiment, attached to the 14th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. The 14th and 15th Warwicks were attacking African Trench on 27th September, the first day of the Battle of the Canal du Nord. The trench was 1500 yards west of the village of Gouzeaucourt.

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17th November 1917

Rifleman Frank Aldington, 2nd Battalion, Rifle Brigade was killed in action on 17th November 1917. He was the youngest of the eight children (six sons, to daughters) of parents, John (a groom and gardener) and Anne (née Copage) who had married at Tanworth-in-Arden in 1862. The family moved to Knowle sometime between 1868 and 1871.

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30th April 1917

Private Sidney William Dawes, 11th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, was killed in action on 30th April 1917. He was born in Knowle in 1893 and was the youngest of the ten children (seven sons, three daughters) of parents Robert (a nurseryman) and Mary Annie (née Field) who had married in 1871.

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11th April 1917

Four local men lost their lives on 11th April 1917 whilst serving in France: Lance Corporal William Henry Austin, 1st Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment; Private Colin Clews, 1st Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment;  Private Albert Perks, 1st Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment; Private Arthur Henry Pool, 16th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (Manitoba Regt).

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26th September 1916

Four local men lost their lives on 26th September 1916 serving with the British Army in France – Lance Corporal Herbert Arculus, 16th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment; Private William Herbert Keel, 9th Battalion, Notts and Derby (Sherwood Foresters) Regiment; Major Guy Egerton Kidd, “A” Battery 70th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery; and Corporal Sam Chidler Ravenhall, 64th Brigade, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry).

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