Jake Jacob: “nothing was easy”

Born in Trinidad in 1925, Prince Albert Jacob left his homeland at the age of 17½ to serve with the Royal Air Force in the Second World War. Returning to Britain after being demobbed, he worked hard and overcame enormous difficulties, including discrimination and racial abuse, to have a successful career with the Post Office and represent Great Britain in athletics. After living in various Midlands towns since 1948, he and his wife settled in Knowle where they have lived for almost 50 years.

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V. J. Day in Solihull, 1945

V. J. Day, 15th August 1945, marked the day when the Second World War effectively came to an end as Japan surrendered and all hostilities ceased.

The Warwick County News, 18th August 1945, summarised local events with the headline “Neighbourly co-operation was the keynote of Solihull’s VJ-Day celebrations” and the observation that the day was marked by a “mood of quiet thanksgiving or in the exuberant relief of pent-up feelings according to age or nature.”

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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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22nd February 1919

Henry Cecil Johnson, aged 31, died at home in Knowle on 22nd February 1919. He is buried in Knowle churchyard and his gravestone notes that he “died from injuries received in the Great War.” He served as a Private with the 1st/6th Royal Warwickshire Regiment T.F. from September 1914 until transfer to the Labour Corps in December 1917 and then to the Railway Transportation Service, Royal Engineers in June 1918.

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8th November 1918

Three men with a local connection died on 8th November 1918 – Gunner John Edward Herbert Harrison, 536th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery; Private Stephen Hastings, 2nd/4th Field Bakery, Royal Army Service Corps; and Sergeant Howard William Smith, 2nd Battalion (Knowle and Dorridge detachment), Royal Warwickshire Volunteers.

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