5th May 1916

On 5th May 1916, Second Lieutenant Gerald Alexander Dutton was accidentally killed in a training accident on Jersey, and was buried with full military honours in St Peter’s Churchyard on the island. He was serving with the 4th Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment, which moved from Lichfield to Jersey as soon as war broke out in August 1914. The battalion trained men for the Front and remained in Jersey until transferring to Marske, near Redcar in September 1916.

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16th March 1916

Lieutenant Glyn Cuthbert Robertson was shot and killed by a sniper at Neuville St Vaast, France whilst inspecting trenches previously taken over from the French. There is a slight discrepancy in the date of death, with some sources giving this as 15th March.

Although Glyn was born in Southgate, London in 1893, the family actually seems to have been living in Warwickshire for several years. His parents, Arthur (an insurance inspector) and Agnes (née Fitter), were married at Edgbaston parish church in 1889, and his sister, Dorothy, was born in Egbaston in 1890. Glyn was baptised at Hampton-in-Arden on 22nd July 1893, with his parents’ address at the time being recorded as Pembroke House, Bounds Green, London and his father’s occupation as clerk.

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V. E. Day in Solihull, 1945

Tuesday 8th May 1945, Victory in Europe Day, saw much rejoicing as the fighting in Europe officially came to an end and some of the men held as prisoners of war started to return home. At 3pm on Monday 7th May Prime Minister Winston Churchill made the official announcement that the following two days would be public holidays. However, it’s clear from newspaper articles in the Warwick County News that people were very mindful that war with Japan was still ongoing. The newspaper summed up the local celebrations as:

“typical of others throughout the land where people had gathered together to give thanks that the nightmare of the last grey years was over, and, while remembering that men in far distant lands were still in danger of their lives, to enjoy the day that their individual effort had made particularly their own” (Warwick County News, 12th May 1945)

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Auxiliary Hospitals

In 1909, the British Red Cross was tasked with helping the Territorial Forces Medical Service in the event of war. It set up local units called ‘Voluntary Aid Detachments’, and members were trained in first aid and nursing.

Auxiliary Hospitals, attached to military hospitals, were established – the following are known to have operated in Solihull:

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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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