“Burleigh in Wartime” was the title written in February 1940 by Clara Milburn on the first page of a soft-backed exercise book. After five months of war she had decided to write a day-to-day account of how she and her small part of the English countryside faced the trials and tribulations of a country at war. Extracts from what turned out to be 15 such exercise books were published in 1979 as Mrs Milburn’s Diaries: an Englishwoman’s day-to-day reflections 1939-45.
18-year-old Percy John Evans died on 9th September 1918 whilst training at Hastings as a cadet with the Squadron Cadet Wing, Royal Air Force.
Four local men lost their lives on active service on 26th October 1917. Three of them were serving with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment – Private Albert Edward Lewis (14th Battalion), Private William Richard Parry (15th Battalion) and Private Albert Charles Thompson (15th Battalion). All three have no known grave and are commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial.
Also killed was Private Sydney West, who was serving with the 58th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (Central Ontario Regiment), having emigrated from Solihull.
Private Frederick Norman, 1st Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, died of wounds as a prisoner of war in Germany on 12th June 1917. Soldiers Died in the Great War lists him as being born in Knowle, and indicates that he was living in Knowle. However, it seems that he was actually born in Cold Newton, Leicestershire, in 1891. His name is recorded on war memorials at Knowle, Baddesley Clinton, Balsall Common, Chadwick End and Temple Balsall.
Two local men lost their lives in France on 21st May 1917 – Private Charles Bishop, 11th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, and Private John Gardner, of the 14th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
Private Albert Twissell, 16th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment, died on 14th May 1917. He was born in 1895 at Burton Green, situated on the boundary of the parishes of Berkswell, Stoneleigh and Kenilworth, and was baptised at Kenilworth on 14th August 1898.
Two local men died on 3rd May 1917 – 21-year-old Second Lieutenant George Cliffe Jenkins, 2nd/5th Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment, and 27-year-old Private Tom Smith, 12th Company, Machine Gun Corps.
Two local men died on 29th March 1917 whilst serving with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Private Charles Henry Chamberlain, who was born in Temple Balsall, was serving with the 9th Battalion in Mesopotamia (Iraq), whilst Private William King, who was from Solihull, was serving with the 5th Battalion in France.
Two local men died on 12th January 1917 whilst on active service – Private Philip Hugh Gwyther, who was born in Castle Bromwich, and Private William Thomas Price. Private Gwyther was serving with the 1st Battalion, North Staffordshire Regiment, whilst Private Price was with the 10th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
Private Richard William Adams, 1st/6th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment was killed in action on 2nd December 1916, as was Private Percy Sears of the Army Service Corps, attached 2nd/1st (South Midland) Field Ambulance.