3rd September 1916

Eight local men were killed in action on 3rd September 1916 whilst serving with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in France. Unpublished research by the late Alan Tucker describes the 14th Battalion in assault positions near Angle Wood at 2am on 3rd September, ready for an attack towards Falfemont Farm. The farm was on high ground overlooking the Allied positions and was a German fortified strong point immediately in front of the German trenches.

The attack began at 9am with an assault by the 2nd Battalion King’s Own Scottish Borderers. It faltered quickly as there was no protective barrage to provide cover, and German machine guns cut down the soldiers 500 yards from the front of the farm. The 14th Battalion Royal Warwicks joined the attack, with the 15th Battalion joining in at about 1pm. The men who had survived were relieved at midnight, and the farm was finally taken on 5th September by the 1st Cheshires and 1st Bedfords. By this time, no part of the farm was left standing.

None of our eight local Royal Warwicks casualties killed in this action has a known grave and all are commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

  • Private Archibald Henry Brown, 15th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
  • Lance Corporal Hugo Buckley, 16th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
  • Private Rowland Hill Burgess, 15th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
  • Lance Corporal Henry Wood Doble, 15th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
  • Private Oliver Robert Foreshew, 2nd Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
  • Private Garnet Smith, 15th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
  • Private Henry Troman, 15th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
  • Private Frederick George Wilsdon, 14th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
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28th July 1916

Oxfordshire-born Rifleman George Savage was killed in action on 28th July 1916 serving with the King’s Royal Rifle Corps. Born in Hook Norton in 1895, George was the third of six children born to parents John Embra Savage and his wife, Jane (née Radbourn). The couple’s sixth child, Hilda Annie, was born towards the end of 1904, the same year that her mother died so it seems likely that Jane died in childbirth. Hilda died early in 1905.

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27th July 1916

On 27th July 1916, two local men lost their lives whilst serving in France. Private William Webb, from Hockley Heath, serving with 17th Battalion Middlesex Regiment, and Private Walter Henry Percival Wright, from Shirley, serving with 16th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment (3rd Birmingham Pals).

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14th July 1916

Private Victor George Houghton, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, was killed in action on 14th July 1916, serving with the 1st/7th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He was born in Hockley Heath in 1897, and was the third of the four children (three sons, one daughter) of John (a shoemaker) and Ruth Elizabeth (née Waters) who had married in 1892.

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7th July 1916

We don’t have very much information about Company Sergeant Major Arthur Callaghan who was killed in action on 7th July 1916 whilst serving with the 9th Battalion Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment). He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. He is also commemorated locally on the Hockley Heath war memorial, as well as on memorials in St Thomas’s Church, Hockley Heath, and Umberslade Baptist Church.

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5th July 1916

Private Walter Charles Taylor of “C” Company, 7th Battalion, the South Lancashire Regiment died on 5th July 1916. He was recorded by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as being 18 years old, although his service record gives his age on enlistment on 23rd April 1915 as 19 years and three days. It seems that he lied about his age as, although 18-year-olds could enlist, soldiers couldn’t serve overseas until they had reached the age of 19.

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9th December 1915

Thomas Freeman of Hockley Heath died of wounds on 9th December 1915 whilst serving as a Private with the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. He is buried in France at Sailly-sur-la-Lys Canadian Cemetery and also commemorated locally on Hockley Heath village war memorial, and on memorials at St Thomas’s Church, Hockley Heath, and Umberslade Baptist Church.

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7th December 1915

William Hands Perkins was born in 1892 in Weston-sub-Edge, Gloucestershire, and was baptised there on 27th November 1892, the sixth child of George Frederick Perkins (a labourer) and his wife, Rose (née Court). William was killed in action at the age of 23 on 7th December 1915 serving as a Private in the 6th Battalion Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.

At first sight, it’s not clear why he’s commemorated locally at Hockley Heath and UmbersladeSoldiers Died in the Great War gives his birthplace and residence as Weston-sub-Edge, although he enlisted in Birmingham. His parents appear to have remained in Weston all their lives, as did his youngest brother, Allen Nelson Perkins, whose burial, aged 71,  is recorded in the parish registers there in 1971. William himself is recorded on the 1901 census in Weston but isn’t there with his parents in 1911 and we haven’t been able to track him down elsewhere.

However, researching William’s siblings sheds some light on the local connection. Although in Gloucestershire, Weston-sub-Edge is only about 26 miles from Hockley Heath and, as is often the case with migration, it looks as if one family member moved first, to be then followed by others.

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