Private Humphrey Walter Fitter was killed in action on 26th March 1918 serving with the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards. He was born in Tanworth-in-Arden in 1893 and was the only son of parents Humphrey Barratt Fitter (a carpenter) and Gertrude Elizabeth (née Clayton) who had married at Tanworth in 1890.
Four local men were killed on 23rd March 1918:
- Private Sidney Bickley, 1st Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment
- Private Clark(e) Middleton, 5th Battalion, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry
- Private Harry Prentice, 11th Battalion, 11th Battalion, The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment)
- Private Albert White, 10th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
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”
Ordinary Seaman William Charles Edward Hadland died of acute nephritis [inflammation of the kidneys] at the Royal Naval Hospital Gosport on 10th March 1918. He had enlisted less than a month previously and was in training on HMS Victory when he became ill.
Three local men are recorded as having been killed on 21st September 1917, the second day of the Battle of Menin Road Ridge: Private Arthur Paget, 10th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment; Private William Skidmore, 8th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment; Lance Corporal Thomas Wells, 12th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment.
Five local men were killed in action on 20th September 1917. This was the first day of the Battle of the Menin Road Ridge, which lasted until 25th September and marked a change in British infantry tactics.
Although previous attacks had penetrated the lightly-defended German front lines, exhausted troops then came under sustained counter-attack and failed to penetrate the second line. The new strategy was designed to attack a small part of the front line, first with heavy bombardment, and then by troops in strength under a creeping barrage 1000 yards deep, protecting the advancing infantry. Once through the lines and having reached their objectives, troops were then to stop and dig in. A second wave of infantry could then pass through to attack the next objective.
Local men who lost their lives in this action were:
- Private Richard Sydney Greaves, 6th Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment
- Private Thomas Henry Lloyd, 10th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment
- Sergeant Septimus Pryce, 6th Battalion, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry
- Corporal Percy John Shirley, 10th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
- Sergeant Harry Taylor, 10th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
Private Samuel Capewell, 2nd Battalion Scots Guards, was killed in action on 15th July 1917. He was born in Birmingham on 17th February 1877, and was the eighth of the nine children (seven sons, two daughters) of parents William (a painter) and Hannah (née Jones) who had married at All Saints, Hockley, Birmingham in 1859.
Three local men are known to have lost their lives on 24th June 1917 whilst on active service: Second Lieutenant Rupert Edward Everitt, 299th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery; Private William James Leake, 1st/7th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment; and Gunner Henry Smith, 207th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery.
On 28th May 1917 40-year-old George Dipple, a former groom, was killed in action whilst serving as a Gunner with 296th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery. Born in Ullenhall, he was the third of four children born to parents John (an agricultural labourer) and Martha (née Wiggett) who had married at Ullenhall in 1870.
Three local men lost their lives in France and Italy on 4th May 1917 – Acting Sergeant Thomas Alfred Johnson MM, 76th Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps; Private George Thomas Perkins, 2nd Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment; and Private John Henry Vernon, 1st/4th Battalion, Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry.